Abbas, Olmert denounce Trump's peace plan in rare joint address

The two leaders who held peace talks back in 2008 say the U.S. Mideast initiative ruins the possibility of a 2-state solution; 'You're a man of peace,' Olmert tells Abbas

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held a joint press conference in New York on Tuesday where they denounced U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, viewed by Palestinians as largely favoring the Israeli side.
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  • The televised address came just hours after Abbas said the U.S. initiative strengthens "the apartheid regime" during a fiery speech at the United Nations Security Council.
    Olmert and Abbas held negotiations during the former's term as prime minister. Olmert was forced to resign a decade ago ahead of a corruption indictment that later sent him to prison for 16 months.
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    אהוד אולמרט מחמוד עבאס אבו מאזן הצהרה תקשורתית ניו יורק
    אהוד אולמרט מחמוד עבאס אבו מאזן הצהרה תקשורתית ניו יורק
    Abbas and Olmert at the press conference in New York
    (Photo: AFP)
    "The only partner in the Palestinian community that represents the Palestinian people and has manifested that he's prepared to negotiate," Olmert said at the onset of his speech. "Unfortunately, we didn't reach an agreement," he added, referring to the 2008 talks that ended abruptly after corruption charges against the former prime minister surfaced.
    "He [Abbas] is a man of peace, he is opposed to terror and therefore he is the only partner that we can build [peace] with."
    Olmert added that during his tenure he had met with Abbas more times than any Israeli leader with the entire Palestinian leadership combined. "It is important to listen not only to the negative side of the Palestinian president but also to the positive side."
    Abbas kicked off his address by saying he would "love" to resume the peace talks with Israel "where we left it with you, Mister Olmert, under the umbrella of the international quartet and not on the basis of the plan of annexation, legalizing settlements and destroying the two-state solution."
    The president also doubled down on his earlier statements at the UN, saying the Palestinians oppose violence and stand against terrorism.
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    אבו מאזן במועצת האו"ם
    אבו מאזן במועצת האו"ם
    Abbas hours earlier during a fiery speech at the UN
    (Photo: Reuters)
    UN Ambassador Danny Danon slammed Olmert for the Tuesday presser, saying he thinks "it's unfortunate ... and shameful that he will be standing with President Abbas, especially this week when we saw attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers" and a resolution "trying to condemn the U.S., our strongest ally. And I think from a former prime minister we should expect more."
    Last week, Kushner, the architect of the U.S. plan, called Olmert's expected appearance with Abbas "almost pathetic," accusing him of "trying to grab a headline when you're irrelevant."
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeled the press conference as “a low point in Israel’s history.”
    Associated Press contributed to this report
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