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Thursday, March 10, 2011

TIP: Israel Pushes for Peace Talks without Preconditions

From The Israel Project

Israel Pushes for Peace Talks without Preconditions

  • Israel ready to talk anytime, anywhere
  • Palestinians preparing push for unilateral independence
  • Peace envoy meets Quartet in Jerusalem

Blair and Netanyahu

Tony Blair and Benjamin Netanyahu discuss peace talks and announce economic initiatives for the Palestinians in Jerusalem in February.

Jerusalem, March 10 - In an effort to kick-start stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s envoy Isaac Molho met with representatives of the “Quartet” on the Middle East in Jerusalem on Thursday.

“Israel has repeatedly called on the Palestinian Authority to resume direct talks without any preconditions and without further delay,” Ashley Perry, a spokesman in Israel’s Foreign Ministry told The Israel Project.

“Unfortunately, the Palestinians prefer diplomatic maneuvers in the dark to direct dialogue. This only stalls the peace process and will delay even more a much needed peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians,” he added.

The Quartet, which groups the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, had tried meeting with Israeli and Palestinian envoys in Brussels, but Netanyahu decided not to send Molho because Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, refused to meet with his Israeli counterpart and demanded only separate meetings with the mediators.

At its last meeting with the Quartet in February, Israel announced a series of economic measures to boost the economies of both the West Bank and Gaza, both of which have shown impressive growth in recent months.

The Palestinians walked out of the last direct peace talks with Israel last September and are refusing to return to the table unless Israel halts all building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Instead, the Palestinians are trying to isolate Israel at the United Nations and laying the groundwork for a resolution to declare an independent Palestine on all territory captured by Israel in 1967 including East Jerusalem without a peace agreement.

“Unilateral efforts at the United Nations are not helpful and undermine trust," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late last year. She urged the parties “not to undermine good faith efforts to resolve final status issues.”