President Mahmoud Abbas said during a Christmas Eve dinner in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on Monday that he is determined to achieve peace with Israel.
“We were exerting every effort possible and we are determined to achieve peace with Israel,” he said.
Abbas attended the annual Christmas Eve dinner in Bethlehem and the Midnight Mass for the Eastern Orthodox Church held at the Church of Nativity.
He said that “if we reach peace with Israel , it will spread to include the Arab and Islamic worlds, and that the Israelis will be part of that peace.”
He expressed hope that US peace efforts will have a positive outcome .
Abbas extended his Christmas greetings to all Christians all over the world.
The Christmas dinner  and Midnight Mass were also attended by visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as Jordanian and Palestinian key figures.
In the Midnight Mass, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, prayed for the success of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, now in their fifth month, as well as achieving Palestinian statehood and progress and prosperity for the Palestinian people
“We also pray for peace in the world and an end to violence in the Middle East and elsewhere,” he said.