Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called for Israel to return to the negotiating table during a speech marking the anniversary of what the Palestinians consider to be the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation.
Abbas also urged Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip to halt rocket attacks on Israel. He said the violence encourages Israel to step up its military activity and proceed with unilateral plans to impose a border on the Palestinians.
"I tell our neighbors, the Israelis, that we want to make a just and lasting peace with you, and we want a better future for our children and yours. So come to make this year a year of peace," he said in remarks set to be broadcast later Monday on Palestinian television and radio.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the speech, reports the AP.
The troops of the Southern and Western military districts will begin to return from Russia's southern borders to the points of their permanent deployment starting April 23