October 8, 2013 in Nation/World

Israeli lawmakers’ visit to West Bank aims to help peace talks

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Israeli Labor Party members Isaac Herzog, left, and Hilik Bar, center, shake hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.
(Full-size photo)

RAMALLAH, West Bank – A delegation of Israeli lawmakers paid a rare visit to the West Bank on Monday to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and give an emotional boost to fledgling peace talks that have faced deep skepticism on both sides.

Visiting the same compound where Israeli troops once laid siege on late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the 10 Israeli lawmakers pledged support for the talks that resumed in July after years of stalemate.

They insisted they were not in Ramallah in place of official negotiations, whose content has remained secret, but rather to give them a “tailwind” of support and stress the urgency of their mission.

“We don’t want to believe that this is the last chance (for peace) but it may be the last chance,” Labor Party lawmaker Hilik Bar said. “It is ridiculous that we won’t make peace.”

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