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Netanyahu alarmed over Abbas-Olmert meeting

The meeting of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discredits the longstanding claim by Israel’s political right that Abbas is not a partner for peace negotiations.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Sept. 21 in Paris with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who was on his way to the UN General Assembly session in New York. The statement issued on Olmert’s behalf after the meeting portrayed Abbas in a positive light — unlike the tarred image of the Palestinian leader favored by the Israeli right, especially by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, as a peace rejectionist who supports terrorism and incites against the State of Israel. 

Olmert praised Abbas, calling him “a great political leader and the most relevant person for the future developments in the relations between Israel and Palestinians.” Olmert also said Abbas had never officially rejected the peace initiative he had proposed to him in September 2008, a claim that the right found particularly offensive given its telling of events.

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