WASHINGTON (JTA) — Mahmoud Abbas agreed with Benjamin Netanyahu that securing Israelis and Palestinians was the key to advancing peace.
"Security is of the essence, it is vital for both of us," the Palestinian Authority president said on the first day of U.S.-brokered direct talks with the Israeli prime minister. "We cannot allow for anyone to do anything that would undermine your security and our security.”
Abbas also noted the role of PA security forces in pursuing terrorists who murdered four Israelis on Tuesday in an ambush near Hebron.
“We not only condemned them but also followed on the perpetrators and found the car that was used, and arrested those who sold and bought the car,” he said.
Netanyahu has said that establishing guarantees of security for Israelis — from rocket attacks and from terrorism — was his priority going into talks. Abbas has focused on ending settlement and on final-status issues such as borders, Jerusalem and refugees.
For his part, Netanyahu in recent days has recognized a Palestinian claim to the land and suggested a willingness to address final-status issues sooner rather than later.