Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said he would be "perfectly open" to meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to end weeks of Israeli-Palestinian unrest. The Palestinian president has ignited an uproar in Israel after falsely claiming that Israel had "executed" a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who is recovering in an Israeli hospital, drawing new accusations that he is inciting violence at a time of heightened tensions.
Netanyahu told reporters he has been speaking to US Secretary of State John Kerry and other leaders about meeting with Abbas. "I'd be perfectly open to it now," he said. "I think it's potentially useful because it might stop the wave of incitement and false allegations against Israel," he said. "I'd be open to meeting with Arab leaders and the Palestinian leadership in order to stop this incitement and set the record straight."
The Palestinian boy, who was run over by an Israeli vehicle after involvement in the stabbing of an Israeli boy, has become the center of heated, high-level name-calling between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders reflecting the abyss between them after a monthlong spike in deadly violence.
Abbas said in a televised speech on Wednesday that Israel is engaged in the "summary execution of our children in cold blood" and wrongly claimed that 13-year-old Ahmed Manasra was among those killed. Netanyahu swiftly accused Abbas of "lies and incitement."
The case has become a lightning rod for both sides, as they trade accusations in an increasingly charged atmosphere. Netanyahu has repeatedly alleged that Abbas is inciting Palestinians to violence against Israel, a claim denied by the Palestinian leader. Abbas says Israel has been using excessive force against Palestinians.