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Rivlin: Abbas’ condemnation of kidnapping opportunity to restore trust

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s president-elect, Reuven Rivlin, told a conference of Jewish journalists that it is possible to restore trust between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking Wednesday at the first Jewish Media Summit, Rivlin called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ condemnation of the kidnappers of three Israeli teens “an opportunity to restore trust between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, if it can ever happen.”

Rivlin, who will be sworn in as the country’s 10th president at the end of July, stressed that “such trust requires constant communications.”

He called for a better relationship with the Palestinians, saying, “We breathe the same air. We drink the same water.

“Coexistence is not our cruel fate but rather our destiny,” he also said, adding, “It is our duty to find a way at least to understand the position of the other.”

Rivlin was elected president earlier this month following a scandal-laden campaign.

He did not take questions from the more than 100 reporters and editors at the media summit. Rivlin left the conference to meet at the Knesset with the mothers of the three kidnapped Israeli teens, who returned Tuesday from addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

On Tuesday, he visited the family of 13-year-old Muhammad Karaka, who was killed Sunday in the Golan Heights by a missile fired from Syria.

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