World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's offers to resume direct talks, according to a statement released by the organization.
Lauder, who heads an international federation of Jewish groups, took out an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal last week with a direct message for Abbas: "Accept the offer to talk, President Abbas. It takes two sides to make peace."
In a later statement, Lauder noted that Israel has been seeking peace with Arab countries since 1967, listing the treaties that the Jewish state signed with Egypt and Jordan as examples.
"As events take unpredictable turns in an ever-changing Middle East, we believe that it is urgent that Israel and the Palestinians move together forward to a diplomatic solution and make peace," he said. "Though Prime Minister Netanyahu has made repeated offers to come to meet at any time and any place for direct talks, Israel has remained alone at the peace table.”
'Direct talks only solution'
Lauder said that he has met with Abbas recently, and expressed his conviction that direct talks are the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I urged him to accept this historic chance to make peace and achieve statehood," he said. "It is more important than ever for Abbas to seize this opportunity and finally come to an historic agreement with Israel.
"Any Palestinian unilateral moves by way of the international organizations would seriously undermine the trust that is needed to make a genuine peace and cannot resolve any of the core issues that are critical to a durable and lasting peace. Only through direct talks around the peace table can the claims on both sides be addressed and a peaceful solution be found.”
He also asserted that it is within the Palestinian leader and people's interest to renew the peace effort.
“This time, the Palestinians cannot afford to miss an opportunity – it is vital for the entire region. We urge President Abbas to take the courageous step that will benefit his people and the people of Israel for generations to come. It takes two sides to make peace,” he said.