Mahmoud Abbas is looking to Israel’s new best friend; Canada, to pressure Israel into peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Yesterday, Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird were meeting with Mr. Abbas and his adviser Majdi al-Khaldi in Ramallah before moving on to Jerusalem to meet with Benjamin Nethanyahu and other Israeli officials. “We told the two ministers, the Foreign Minister and your Finance Minister, that you as Canada are friends of Israel, and are eligible to play even a better role as friends of Israel,” Mr. al-Khaldi said in a telephone interview with The Globe and Mail. Talking about the restart of peace negotiations, Mr. al-Khaldi added “We want this government of Israel to be helped by their friends, friends that can tell them that it’s better to start now, not to lose the chance for solving this long-standing conflict based on the two-state solution. Because I think if the settlement activities continue, we will not find any piece of land to build the two-state solution.” Mahmoud Abbas says he is not looking to change the Canadian Government’s position on the conflict which the opposition calls “one-sided”, but he urges them to use their close ties with Israel to push them towards peace.
The Globe and Mail, Canada