Israel rejects Solana's call for deadline on Palestinian state
European Union's foreign policy chief urges Security Council to set tangible deadline for formation of Palestinian state, endorse overall solution for issues of border parameters, refugees, control over Jerusalem; Israel says proposal 'undermines peace efforts'
Jerusalem dismissed Sunday evening European Union Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana's call for the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state by a certain deadline even if the Israelis and Palestinians have not reached agreement among themselves.
The Foreign Ministry released a statement saying "Resolutions 242 and 338 of the United Nations, the roadmap (peace plan) and agreements between Israel and the Palestinians all cautiously determine that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be reached through negotiations by the sides.
"Israel has declared its willingness for the immediate resumption of the peace talks with no preconditions. Any other approach, including one that calls for setting an artificial deadline for the negotiations, undermines the efforts to reach an agreement between (Israel and the Palestinian Authority)," the statement read.
Solana made his comments on Saturday at a lecture in London while Palestinian and Israeli peace talks remain stalled.
The Palestinians have said they will not revive peace talks unless there is a halt to Israel's settlement activities in the West Bank: "After a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council resolution should proclaim the adoption of the two-state solution," Solana said, adding this should include border parameters, refugees, control over the city of Jerusalem and security arrangements.
"It would accept the Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, and set a calendar for implementation. It would mandate the resolution of other remaining territorial disputes and legitimize the end of claims," Solana went on.
Advocating a return to Israel's borders before the 1967 war with Egypt, Syria and Jordan in which it took the West Bank, Solana said mediators should set a timetable for a peace agreement.
"If the parties are not able to stick to it (the timetable), then a solution backed by the international community should be put on the table," He said. The EU, along with the United States, Russia and the United Nations, is part of the Quartet of Middle East Negotiators.
Earlier Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call to return to the negotiation table, saying Israel must halt all settlement construction in the West Bank before the talks are to resume.