Former Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin called Tuesday's trilateral summit in New York "pathetic," but said he hoped it would nevertheless lead to renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Beilin, a co-architect of the Oslo Accords and current chairman the Geneva Initiative, a "model permanent status agreement between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine," criticized US President Barack Obama for "reprimanding" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "without letting them know what he really wants."
"(Obama) reiterated the Bush Administration's mantras," the former justice minister told Ynet on Wednesday.
"It was clear that the participants were not enthusiastic about the meeting," Beilin added, "It wasn't a meeting of people who want to make peace."
Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens also criticized the summit, saying it did not mark the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the PA.
Summit in New York (Photo: AP)
"Obama wanted a photo-op – to be seen as someone who managed to get Abbas and Netanyahu in the same room and give the impression that the US has not abandoned the (Mideast peace) process," Arens told Ynet.
"The US recently demanded that Israel halt all settlement construction, but this time the president only spoke of containment. Apparently he has reached the conclusion that the demand to freeze settlement construction was a mistake, because it has been used by the Palestinians as a pretext to delay the launching of negotiations," he said.
"Now it is up the Palestinians to decide whether or not they are willing to accept the continued construction in the West Bank and still push forward with the negotiations."
Attorney Gilead Sher, who acted as Israel's co-chief negotiator in 1999-2001 at the Camp David summit and served as then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak's policy coordinator, said that while the trilateral talks in New York did not mark a breakthrough, they did "open a little window of opportunity" for the renewal of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.
"We must be very patient, but a conceptual change on our part is also required. Israel must realize that the two-states for two peoples paradigm is the embodiment of Zionism," he said.
Anat Shalev, Daniel Edelson and Amnon Meranda contributed to the report