Mofaz (L) with PM
Photo: AP

Officials: PM involved in cancellation of Abbas-Mofaz meeting

Government sources say Netanyahu called off Ramallah talks over political crisis surrounding new IDF draft law

Government sources on Saturday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of playing a role in the cancellation of a high-profile meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, Ynet reported.


The officials said the meeting was called off due to the political crisis surrounding the deliberations of a committee that is seeking an alternative to the Tal Law, which exempted ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from army service.


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A Palestinian official confirmed that the meeting, which was scheduled to take place in Ramallah on Sunday, has been postponed indefinitely. 


The official, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the issue, did not give a reason for the delay. But Abbas has been under intense pressure in recent days from other Palestinians not to meet with Mofaz.


Likud officials have blamed Mofaz and his Kadima party of trying to pressure Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party into quitting the coalition due to attempts to water down a plan for the recruitment of haredim and Arabs into the IDF.


Netanyahu recently told Mofaz that the Plesner Committee must drop a recommendation for personal sanctions against anyone who does not join the IDF.


During the meeting with the PM, Mofaz demanded that the Plesner Committee impose personal sanctions against those who don't enlist. The two agreed to meet early next week.


Mofaz has previously proposed seeking an interim arrangement with the Palestinians, granting them independence within temporary borders, while final borders and other issues are subsequently worked out.


His joining the coalition had set off hopes for a resumption of peace talks toward a Palestinian state, which last broke off in 2008.


A government official who is familiar with the talks said the Kadima chairman retracted his demand to include the mandatory enlistment of Israeli Arabs in the new legislation.


But Palestinians insisted that the Abbas-Mofaz meeting would not mark a formal resumption of talks anyway. The Palestinians have refused to talk peace with Israel so long as West Bank settlement construction continues. Netanyahu insists that talks begin without preconditions and that all issues be resolved through negotiations.


AP contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 06.30.12, 16:06
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