"Nobody wants peace more than the people of Israel, the Israeli government and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu," Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu's media adviser, told Israel Radio on Monday morning.
Responding to Thomas Friedman's Saturday column in the New York Times, in which the veteran journalist called on the US to abandon efforts for an Israel-Palestinian peace deal, which he had said seemed to interest the American administration more than the Israelis or Palestinians, Hefetz, currently in Washington with the prime minister, cited evidence to prove Friedman wrong, as far as his analysis of the Israeli side went.
"We saw evidence of [Israel's desire for peace] in Netanyahu's Bar Ilan address, in the various gestures [to make life easier for Palestinians] in the West Bank" and elsewhere, Hefetz said, laying the blame for the impasse in efforts to renew peace talks on the unwilling partners. "The Palestinian side took two steps backward, and is setting preconditions [for commencing peace talks] that have been unheard of for the past 16 years," said the Israeli spokesman.
"Netanyahu is calling on the Palestinians to talk peace night and day," Hefetz continued. "The prime minister has said on many occasions that he is willing to talk peace with [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] anywhere in the world."