Hawkish new Israeli president ready to meet Abbas
JERUSALEM: Israel’s hawkish president-elect Reuven Rivlin, who opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, has said he is willing to meet Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas, a newspaper reported yesterday.
“I met with Abu Mazen (Abbas) in the past on a number of occasions and I will also meet with him in the future,” the Yediot Aharonot newspaper quoted Rivlin as saying.
“We both realise that direct dialogue is the condition for our Middle East to be a safe place,” he said on Wednesday at a three-day conference in Jerusalem for Jewish media.
Rivlin said he received a letter from Abbas after he was elected on June 10 to succeed elder statesman Shimon Peres, whose term ends in late July.
Yediot published what it said was an image of the letter, in Arabic, which congratulated Rivlin and called for a peace agreement and an independent Palestine.
The incoming president is a staunch backer of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and has never hidden his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state.