Addressing the cabinet's recent decision to temporarily halt construction in the West Bank, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Sunday, "I hope the Arabs won't repeat the missed opportunity of November 29, 1947 Arabs and miss the chance to achieve peace yet again."
On November 29, 1947 the UN voted to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into two provisional states, one Jewish and one Arab.
"(Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's decision to freeze the settlements is historic and unprecedented," Ayalon told a conference held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
"Today there is a real opportunity, which is no less important than UN Resolution 181 (called for the partition of the British-ruled Palestine), to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. The problem is that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity," he said.
Ayalon, a member of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party, continued to say that "since 1993 there has been an asymmetry in the concessions made by Israel and the Palestinians. Israel has given up on a lot, but the Palestinians have refused to budge and have not made any progress regarding Jerusalem, the refugees, the borders and the recognition of Israel (as a Jewish state).
"Israel is determined to continue the peace process - but it takes two sides," said the deputy FM, "I call on the Palestinians to come to their senses and enter negotiations for peace."
During a Likud Party meeting on Sunday, some ministers criticized the West Bank construction moratorium. Minister Silvan Shalom said the measure would not jumpstart the peace negotiations.