Talks yes, gestures of goodwill no. Senior officials in Jerusalem who were present during talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry
and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
claimed Wednesday that Israel
does not intend to present any confidence building measures
towards the Palestinians.
The sources claim that the "preliminary demands presented by the Palestinians attest to the fact that they are peace refusniks. We on the other hand are not presenting any pre-conditions, not even recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jewish nation."
US Secretary of State John Kerry is attempting to renew talks between the two sides but it is not going to be simple.
Kerry and Netanyahu (Photo: Yonatan Zindel/Flash90)
Possible gestures like releasing prisoners or withdrawal from Area C in order to enable the Palestinian Authority to carry out projects were rejected outright.
"There will be no response to any demand where the purpose (of the demand) is to supply appease the Palestinians and make them come to the table," an Israeli source noted.
"Ministers are unanimous over the decision of not giving in to any pre-condition. They present conditions in order to make the process of renewing direct talks difficult. There will be no gestures, especially not land withdrawals."
Netanyahu has extensive government and cabinet backing. This is why it was decided that no pre-conditions be made on the Israeli side. That said, even before Kerry's arrival, the prime minister refused to allow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
to present the US secretary of state with maps that include the borders he hopes will be included in the permanent agreement.
"We don't have any pre-conditions but the Palestinians prepared a list with (demands) like a building freeze, releasing prisoners, and border deliberations before everything (begins). We are ready to discuss everything, but only within the framework of direct talks where we will demand recognition of the Jewish State and declaration of the end of the conflict."
The source speaks of Israeli inflexibility, while Netanyahu and Kerry have already discussed economic measures that Israel
will offer to the Palestinian Authority, even in Area C.
"You want cellular antennas? No problem. You want a sweage treatment facility? Can do. It's possible that in a month 10 prisoners might be released, but that's small change," the source added.
"With regards to the Palestinian demands for gestures – that is n't going to happen unless it's around the negotiation table. The Palestinians will continue to pressure (us) for gestures and Israel
will not accede to gestures as a pre-condition to negotiation."
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