Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets the leader of Israeli opposition Meretz Party Tamar Zandberg in Ramallah on Sunday. Photo: Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and the leader of Israel’s left-wing Meretz party called for peace efforts to resume when they met in Ramallah on Sunday.

Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg traveled to the occupied West Bank while campaigning ahead of Israel’s April 9 elections.

Israeli politics has moved significantly to the right in recent years, but Meretz has doubled down on left-wing policies, including a two-state solution with the Palestinians and progressive social policies.

The party holds five of the parliament’s 120 seats and polls indicate it will secure a similar number in next month’s elections.

“No matter what government will be formed, the first thing it should do is start negotiations,” Zandberg said during his meeting with Abbas at his headquarters.

Abbas said, “No matter the radical positions that reject the idea of peace, we follow that principle [of peace].”

He also said Israeli policies were causing a financial crisis for the Palestinians.

Abbas’s comments referred to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its recent decision to withhold tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israel is withholding $138 million over the PA’s payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis.

Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes in their conflict with Israel.

Israel says the payments encourage further violence.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse

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