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Giuliani: Open to Abbas, but skeptical

Rudy Giuliani said that Mahmoud Abbas may have the right intentions toward Israel, but it is unclear if he is capable of following through.

In an interview Monday with JTA, Giuliani laid out four criteria the Palestinians must meet if a peace process is to go forward: declare support for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, state that they will end terrorism, exercise control over terrorism, and demonstrate their intentions to build an accountable government.

“If all those things are really happening, and we are satisfied that they’re really happening, then you have the basis for a peace process,” the Republican presidential candidate said, during a day of intense campaigning in Florida. “If not, we should not create expectations that cant be fulfilled, like has happened in the past.”

Giuliani said that while the peaceful intentions of Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, appeared to be genuine, it is unclear whether he has the power to deliver.

Some right-leaning Israelis and American Jews who often share Giuliani’s hawkish views on the Middle East have been increasingly critical of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. President George W. Bush’s willingness to negotiate with Abbas. But Giuliani expressed confidence in both leaders, saying he holds them in “high personal regard.”

“I come from the school of Ronald Reagan, which is trust but verify,” Giuliani said. “Trust is one thing, but then lets verify and make sure these things are actually taking place. That’s the more important part of it.”

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