Tensions running high. Netanyahu
Photo: AP

Tensions cloud Sharm peace talks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves for Sharm el-Sheik peace talks but political sources are already assigning blame for talks' possible failure. PA must act responsibly, they say

SHARM el-SHEIK – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, Tuesday morning, ahead of a day of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.


Israel, it seems, is already assigning possible blame should this round of talks fail: "We expect the Palestinians to act responsibly," a source in Netanyahu's entourage said.


According to other sources, the prime minister was infuriated by recent Palestinians' threats suggesting the PA is on the verge of walking away from the negotiating table, and intends on demanding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "rein his people in."


Netanyahu intends to remind Abbas of their Washington agreement to keep the talks discreet and refrain from making vehement statements in the press – if in deed he intends to pursue peace seriously.


The Palestinian's attitude, added another source, "Had led to a nine-month standstill on negotiations. The notion of 'all or nothing' led to deadlock.


"If the parties cannot pass the hurdle posed by the settlement freeze, how will they overcome the questions of borders and refugees?"


The difficulties noted in the negotiations so far have prompted the Prime Minister's Office to cancel a series of events planned for Tuesday, including a joint press conference in which Israel and the Palestinian Authority were to announce the official launch of their direct talks.


With tensions high, it is unclear at this time whether Netanyahu will meet with Abbas in private.


Sources in the premier's entourage said such a meeting was up to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as "she sets the agenda."


Clinton arrived in Egypt on Monday night and repeated US President Barack Obama's call for Israel to extend the 10-month moratorium on settlements that is due to expire on September 26.


Accompanying Netanyahu to Egypt are National Security adviser Uzi Arad, communications director Nir Hefetz, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, Yitzhak Molcho and Military Secretary General Yohanan Locker.






פרסום ראשון: 09.14.10, 09:23
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