President Mahmoud Abbas has appealed for the governments of the Palestinian Territories and Israel to begin peace talks. In a speech yesterday, to mark the 58th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel - which Palestinians observe as a day of mourning for the thousands of their relatives who died or were forcibly expelled from their homes in 1948, President Abbas said: "I say to our neighbours, the Israelis, that we wish to achieve a just and lasting peace with you and that we want a better future for our children as well as yours. Therefore, ensure that this year might be a year of peace." Abbas used the occasion to renew his appeal to Israel and Hamas to transform the tensions resulting from the Hamas electoral victory into an opportunity to return to the negotiation table and concluded a peace treaty. Aware that efforts for peace must be made by both sides, Abbas also appealed to Hamas and armed radical movements, asking them to stop attacks with rockets against Israeli cities. "Let us stop pretending that there is no Palestinian partner" for peace, said Abbas, asking Hamas to review its position against Israel and to trust diplomatic mediation. "That partner exists, and we extend our hand to make peace" he said. Source: MISNA
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