WASHINGTON – As fledgling peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians teeter on the edge of an uncertain future, 87 US senators signed a letter calling upon US President Barack Obama to put pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to quit the negotiations.
The senators claimed in their letter that neither side should present pre-conditions to peace talks. They also praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his tenacity in remaining in the process even after four innocent Israelis were murdered by Hamas just as the talks kicked off last month.
"Following the brutal murder of four innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas militants at the start of the negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not abandon the talks. Instead - after forcefully condemning the attack – he reached out to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying, 'You are my partner for peace. Peace begins with leaders.' We agree with the Prime Minister, and we also agree with you that it is critical that all sides stay at the table," the senators wrote.
"Neither side should make threats to leave just as the talks are getting started," they added.
"In addition, we believe that Arab states could do more to provide meaningful political and economic support for this process, including providing increased financial support to the Palestinian Authority."
The senators also praised the US president for his " recent efforts to reaffirm the long-standing, special relationship between the United States and Israel, and for providing such robust support for Israel's security needs... Embracing that special bond provides the best hope for securing peace between Israel and her neighbors."
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