Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Israel will not accept any conditions for a continuation of talks with the Palestinians, foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday, rejecting new Palestinian demands that Israel freeze settlement construction and release more Palestinian prisoners in order to continue negotiations past their late April deadline.
"There will be no conditions," Liberman said Wednesday at a meeting in Tel Aviv of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel. "We are willing to listen and to talk, but we will not accept conditions. Those who want to set conditions should look for other partners," he said.
Shortly after US President Barack Obama slammed continued settlement construction in an interview published on Sunday, and said that it would be increasingly difficult for the US to "manage the international fallout" against Israel if the talks fail, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Meretz head Zehava Gal-On in Ramallah and placed conditions on continuing talks beyond the deadline.
"The only way we would agree to extend the talks would be if Netanyahu declares a settlement freeze and agrees to free more prisoners beyond the next round, including women, young people, and administrative detainees," he said.
"Giving in to conditions has never helped in the past," Liberman said. "It is important to remember history, people try to deny history."
Liberman said that there will never be an Israeli prime minister who will give a more far reaching offer than what [Ehud] Olmert offered after Annapolis
, but that Abbas refused to accept even that offer.
"It has to be clear who is the obstacle to peace, and to the process, and who is not," he said.