'Nobody denies Jewish history here' says Abbas

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid out new requirements for moving to direct talks with Israel Thursday, dropping earlier calls for a settlement freeze in favor of progress on borders and security.

Specifically, he said he was looking for agreement from the Netanyahu government that the basis for borders would be the 1967 lines with agreed land swaps, an arrangement he said was in place during his direct talks with the previous prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

“Everyone around the world talks about the ’67 borders, but with some amendments, some swaps here and there,” he told a Brookings Institution forum the day after he met with US President Barack Obama and other top American officials....

But he also said, “Nobody denies the Jewish history in the Middle East. A third of our holy Koran talks about the Jews in the Middle East, in this area. Nobody from our side at least denies that the Jews were in Palestine.”

At the dinner Abbas was also pressed repeatedly on the issue of incitement among Palestinians.

“I accept your accusations,” Abbas said, referring to charges of incitement on PA-run TV, according to the transcript. “I will say, OK, let us say there is incitement. How can we deal with this? Shall I talk about Israeli incitement?”...

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