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svgadminsvgSeptember 25, 2011svgNews

Abbas: Bibi the Toughest Negotiator

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s predecessors were easier for Arab negotiators to work with, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with the pan-Arabic A-Sharq il-Awsat.

Abbas included former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as an Israeli leader who was easier for PA negotiators than Netanyahu, along with former Prime Ministers Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Netanyahu’s toughness is “almost ideological,” Abbas claimed.

Netanyahu was the first Israeli leader to offer the PA a full freeze on Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, asking nothing in return. Abbas agreed to negotiate as the freeze drew to a close, but then dropped out of talks and accused Netanyahu of intransigence when Netanyahu declined to extend the unilateral freeze.

Netanyahu has since repeatedly called on the PA to resume negotiations with no preconditions, while PA leaders say they are ready to talk – as soon as Israel accepts their demands.

Other comments Abbas made in the Saturday interview appeared to confirm reports that some Arab states were opposed to his bid for UN recognition as a state. Abbas mentioned that he had faced pressure over the bid from within the Arab world as well as from Western nations.

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