Netanyahu invites Abbas to address Knesset
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas to address the Knesset during his speech at the United Nations.
Taking his place at the rostrum just one speaker after the Palestinian President at the opening debate of the 71st General Assembly, Netanyahu said he was also ready to resume negotiations on the two-state solution.
"But as President Abbas spoke here an hour ago, wouldn't it be better that instead of speaking past each other, we were speaking to one another? President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem, and I would gladly come to the Palestinian Parliament in Ramallah," the prime minister said.
"I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace," Netanyahu added.
"I believe for that broader peace to be fully achieved, the Palestinians have to be a part of it. I'm ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today, not tomorrow, not next week, today."
Despite his statement, the mutual recriminations in the speeches underlined the low expectations for any revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. As it happened, the only speech between the two Middle East neighbors was given by the prime minister of Norway, where the secret Israeli-Palestinian negotiations took place leading to the 1993 Oslo accords.
Peace talks last collapsed in 2014 and there are few hopes for a resumption anytime soon in part because of Israeli anger at Palestinian attacks and Palestinian criticism of Israel's construction of settlements on occupied land where Palestinians want to establish a state.