A year in the making. Netanyahu
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Yaalon. Time not on our side?
Photo: Yotam Frum
US Vice President Joe Biden
Photo: Yariv Katz

Netanyahu welcomes indirect talks with PA

Netanyahu hopes US-brokered dialogue will mature into direct peace talks with Palestinians, says 'we have been close to resuming talks for nearly a year.' Minister Yaalon: PA willingness to hold indirect talks 'does not bode well'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday welcomed the renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, shortly after the United States announced both parties agreed to resume indirect negotiations.


"We have been close to resuming talks, without preconditions, for nearly a year," Netanyahu added. "I hope we can soon move to direct negotiations which will truly facilitate peace."


Speaking at a pro-Israeli Christian conference in Jerusalem, the prime minister reiterated the principles mentioned in his Bar-Ilan speech, saying he believed "they could lead the way to peace and security."


Meanwhile, Vice Premier and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon, said Monday that the Palestinian Authority's willingness to hold brokered negotiations "does not bode well," since they cannot replace direct negotiations.


Speaking at a Tel Aviv University conference, Yaalon added that "(such talks) can address the framework for peace talks, but none of the actual issues, especially when the Palestinian leadership continues to negate the Jewish people's connection to the Land of Israel, while simultaneously cultivating hatred and opposition to Israel's existence and trying to discredit us in the global arena."


"There are those of us who, in their weakness, say that time is not on our side. The father's of Zionism have taught us that time is on the side of those who take advantage of it," Yaalon added.


Earlier Monday, Washington announced that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to resume indirect talks. The negotiations are to be brokered by Special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.


The statement was made shortly after US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel. Biden is scheduled to meet with Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders.


Mitchell, on his part, was pleased with the agreement, which will see him shuttle between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The special US envoy is expected back in the region next week, and has urged both sides to avoid provocation in the meantime.


During his speech Monday the prime minister also addressed the Iranian threat, saying that if Tehran were to achieve nuclear capabilities "the world will never be the same.


"Harsh sanctions must be applied. We must stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, just as we must strike peace with our neighbors," he concluded.


פרסום ראשון: 03.08.10, 21:19
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