Landau warns PM not to concede ahead of talks

Tourism minister says PA responded to previous settlement freeze with only further demands, calls to learn from past.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 8, 2013 01:15
1 minute read.
Uzi Landau

Uzi Landau 370. (photo credit: reuters)

 
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Tourism Minister Uzi Landau warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday not to pay the Palestinian Authority in settlement freezes and prisoner releases for coming to the negotiating table.

Landau (Likud Beytenu) said that in Netanyahu’s last term, the prime minister endorsed a Palestinian state and the government accepted a settlement freeze but Israel received nothing in return from the PA other than further demands.

“We have to learn from experience,” Landau told The Jerusalem Post. “All the concessions in the past were pocketed. Freezing last time was a big mistake. There must be reciprocity. If we freeze construction, the Palestinians also have to. There won’t be unilateral steps.”

Landau said the coup in Egypt and struggles of countries throughout the Arab world should make proponents of a Palestinian state reconsider whether such a state could last.

“Because foreign policy has to be based on reality and not dreams, those who want a Palestinian state need to explain why such a state could work when countries in the region with decades of history are coming apart and why we should make a deal with a Palestinian leader who could not win an election,” Landau said.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said he would ask the prime minister in Monday’s Likud faction meeting about reports that Netanyahu had agreed to a six-month freeze and a gradual release of Palestinian prisoners.

The issues are also expected to come up in a Likud convention that could take place Thursday, ahead of another visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck, who heads the Knesset’s Land of Israel Front, said she would ask her party chairman, Naftali Bennett, to seek clarification from Netanyahu about whether he had changed his mind about Palestinian pre-conditions for talks.

“I hope Netanyahu will keep his promise to not pay the Palestinians to talk to him,” Struck said. “Whoever gives in at the outset of talks cannot [stand up] for what he believes in as the negotiations progress.”

Struck added that America should be ashamed to press Israel to release murderers from prison to start peace talks when the US is supposed to be leading the international fight against terror.

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