Ya'alon: Israel entering peace talks with sincere intent to end conflict

July 20, 2013 20:00

Israel is entering peace talks with the Palestinians with a sincere intent to reach an arrangement that will end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Saturday.

"My hope is that the Palestinian side will come to the table with a similar approach, and that we can make progress," the defense minister said.

"We've stressed more than once our desire to renew talks with the Palestinians, and the fact that our hand is stretched out to peace," Ya'alon said. "This is an Israeli interest, and we've expressed our willingness to launch negotiations immediately, anywhere, and without prior conditions." Ya'alon said Israel successfully resisted Palestinian attempts to get it to agree to preconditions before direct talks commence, such as a declaration on the 1967 borders, a freezing of settlement construction, and releasing security prisoners.

The government's firm stance on this issue caused the international community to conclude that direct talks without preconditions is best path, Ya'alon added.

Israel's security needs will be safeguarded in all negotiations, Ya'alon added.

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