Matti Friedman
The Associated Press
July 1, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian president has given a rare interview to Israeli media in an apparent effort to counter the claims in some circles that Israel has no partner for peace talks.

Mahmoud Abbas spent three hours with Israeli reporters, discussing subjects from peacemaking efforts to the World Cup and his smoking habit.

Abbas' top negotiator, Saeb Erekat, says the president is trying to "reach out" to the Israeli public and seek a partner for peace.

The interview took place in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday and was reported in Israeli newspapers on Thursday.

It came as Washington's special Mideast envoy was in the region trying to find enough common ground between the two sides to allow direct talks to resume.


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