Danny Ayalon 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post)
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon wrote that while "the breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has predictably resulted in blame laid almost exclusively on Israel," the "events of the last 17 years — since Israeli-Palestinian peace talks began — demonstrate a different story about what has prevented peace," in an op-ed for the LA Times on Tuesday.
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The op-ed comes after the recent breakdown of peace talks and United Nations and European Union criticism of the Netanyahu government for its refusal to halt settlement construction, which they say led to the failure of the peace talks.
In the piece, Ayalon defended Israel's historical stance in the peace talks, saying "since the Oslo peace accords were signed in 1993, the Israeli position on the peace process has constantly progressed and evolved. That has been best enunciated by the generous offers made by Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert in 2000 and 2008, respectively.
"Meeting nearly all of the Palestinian demands, these offers were rejected without further discussion or counter-offer," he wroted.
This past week, following the breakdown of talks and the recognition of a Palestinian state by South American countries,
chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called upon the EU and the US
to "recognize a Palestinian state" within pre-1967 borders and rejected accusations that a declaration of statehood was a unilateral move.
Ayalon added that "the present Israeli government has accepted the
principle of a two-states-for-two peoples solution. Israel has
contributed to the improvement of the lives of Palestinian to the point
where the West Bank's economic growth is greater than almost anywhere in
the world; it has removed more than two-thirds of all security
checkpoints and initiated a unilateral moratorium on construction in the
Meanwhile, US Mideast envoy George Mitchell arrived in the region and met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
on Tuesday in an
attempt to renew the stalled peace talks.