Israel asks Italy to persuade PA to return to negotiating table

Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi (Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency)

Midle East Monitor  /  October 31, 2020

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has asked his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio to persuade the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s leadership to return to the negotiating table, news agencies reported on Thursday.

“The Abraham Accords are a window of opportunity to renew talks with the Palestinians in order to find a just and lasting solution of peace and mutual respect,” Ashkenazi told Di Maio during a visit to Jerusalem.

“Unfortunately,” he claimed, “the ones who continue to refuse to take advantage of the window of opportunity is the Palestinian Authority leadership.”

The Times of Israel reported Ashkenazi stating that he had asked Di Maio, before visiting Ramallah on Friday, to help persuade PA leadership to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

Meanwhile, Italian news agency ANSA reported Di Maio welcoming the Abraham Accords. “The signing of the Abraham Accords is a positive contribution towards peace and stability in the Middle East,” he affirmed.

Di Maio added: “The gradual rapprochement of the Arab world and Israel will contribute to regional stability and to the recognition of Israel’s right to exist in security. This is one of the cardinal points of our foreign policy in the Middle East.”

He continued: “We hope that the Abraham Accords can give a push to relaunching the peace process with the resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians in view of a two-state solution that is just, sustainable and practicable.”

Meanwhile, during Di Maio’s visit to Ramallah, he met with the PA’s Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Shtayyeh, according to Wafa news agency, called on Di Maio’s country to: “Break the status quo by recognising the Palestinian state in light of the systematic destruction of the two-state solution as a result of Israeli settlement and the decisions of the US administration that violate international law.”

He also confirmed: “This is the right time for the European Union and its members to work to fill the void left by the US administration in the political process by its bias towards Israel.”