The failure of peace talks will result in widespread violence, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview with the journal of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The report, published Tuesday, included the remarks made by the Egyptian leader to mark the 37th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Cairo on Tuesday and set to meet with Mubarak to discuss the latest developments.
In Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly preparing to convene his "septet" of cabinet ministers on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in the direct talks with the Palestinians.
The ministers were reportedly also to discuss Israel's relations with the United States surrounding the renewed building in the West Bank.
In addition to Netanyahu, the septet includes three key Likud ministers, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor and Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin; and the heads of the coalition’s three largest parties – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman from Israel Beiteinu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak from Labor and Interior Minister Eli Yishai from Shas.
Government sources had said in
recent days that Netanyahu would not convene
the septet the security cabinet to discuss the issue until there
was a concrete and detailed proposal on the table for how to overcome the
current impasse, but reports on Tuesday indicated that plans had changed.
On Monday, the Prime Minister told the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel and the US are involved in “sensitive diplomatic contacts” to find a way
to continue the direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
In his first public comments on the crisis in the direct talks,
resulting from last week’s expiration of the 10-month settlement moratorium,
Netanyahu said those talks had begun after his government made a number of
gestures to relaunch them, including announcing the settlement freeze last
Jews living in Judea and Samaria “have been under an unjust
attack now for nearly half a century,” Netanyahu said.
“They deserve to
live normal lives like every other citizen, and that is our policy – to ensure
that they can live normal lives.”
The prime minister said that despite
all the difficulties, his government had lived up to its commitments regarding
the construction moratorium.
“Now we have an interest in continuing the
peace negotiations,” he said. “That is a vital interest for Israel. We are
currently in the midst of sensitive diplomatic contacts with the American
administration in order to find a solution that will make possible a
continuation of the talks.”
Netanyahu did not reveal anything about those
talks, or what was being discussed, and said this was not the time “to make
declarations. We are not looking to cause an uproar, and I do not have the
possibility of denying every baseless report published in the media.”
London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat
reported Monday that Netanyahu had agreed
in principle to extend the moratorium by two months, in exchange for an
incentive basket from the US including military hardware, promises of political
support, and assurances that in any agreement, Israel would – as Netanyahu has
demanded – be able to keep troops stationed on the eastern border of a future
Palestinian state to prevent arms smuggling.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.