A MIDDLE EAST OCTOBERFEST IN MOSCOW?

Abbas Netanyahu meet in DC Sept 2010 Photo Israeli GPO Moshe MilnerIf anyone might persuade Mahmoud Abbas to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, it is Vladimir Putin. If Putin succeeds and regardless the outcome, there will be cause to celebrate. Still, Abbas's intransigence makes it unlikely. Octoberfest - with beer, not vodka - will remain in Europe.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering an offer by Russian President Vladimir Putin to host a peace summit in Moscow, Israel Hayom learned this week.

Netanyahu and Putin reportedly discussed the issue in a recent phone conversation. Putin's offer is the latest in a series of international initiatives to reignite the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.

The Prime Minister's Office had no comment on the matter, but senior state officials told Israel Hayom that there are "ongoing, preliminary communications" regarding the summit.

Sources in the Palestinian leadership confirmed that efforts to bring about a meeting between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow were ongoing. A senior official in the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization said Abbas would be unwilling to participate in any negotiations unless Israel agrees to freeze construction across Judea and Samaria.

Sources privy to the issue said it was highly unlikely that Jerusalem would accept this condition, as a construction moratorium would not be approved by the coalition.

Netanyahu has previously maintained he would be willing to meet with Abbas at any time, without conditions.

Reports of Putin's initiative come a week after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi stated that Russia had expressed willingness to sponsor the talks.

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This is a lightly edited version of an the original article published by Israel Hayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=36011

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