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.