Likud minister: PM not serious about peace moves with Palestinians

Lawmaker says Netanyahu does not have support from his party on issue of restarting stalled peace talks.

July 16, 2013 09:18
2 minute read.
BINYAMIN NETANYAHU strides the corridors of the Knesset this week.

Netanyahu leaving Knesset 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

A senior Likud minister says that on the stalled peace process with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not intent to make any far reaching diplomatic moves, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday.

According to the minister, Netanyahu's aim is only to appear to be willing to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians. The report did not mention the name of the minister.

The minister said that the government projects that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's intransigence is what will frustrate the diplomatic process.

The lawmaker said that Netanyahu has no chance to lead the process that would include making meaningful concessions to the Palestinians because he did not have support from within his party and that a schism developing within the Likud party on the issue was not realistic.

No Likud members of Knesset would support Netanyahu if he decided to make such concessions with the exception of Minister Yuval Steinitz, the minister said.   

Opposition leader and Labor party head Shelly Yacimovich has said on a number of occasions that her party would support Netanyahu if he chose to embark on a serious diplomatic process with the Palestinians. 

Last month, Yacimovich called on Netanyahu to push forward with the stalled peace process.

“Move this forward. We will add wind to your sails. Push forward with bravery.
We are ready to be your safety net,” Yacimovich said.

In an interview to The Jerusalem Post last week, Palestinian Authority Ambassador to the US Maen Areikat cast doubt on the intentions of Israel’s leadership to genuinely engage in dialogue

“We have not reached the point where we can say that we, the Palestinians, are satisfied with the progress of these discussions,” Areikat told the Post, adding that he does not underestimate US Secretary of State John Kerry’s resolve to restart the peace process.

“Nothing has emerged from these meetings for the American side to be able to announce that the two sides accepted to engage politically,” Areikat explained.

Kerry was expected to come back to the region on Wednesday in a further effort to revive the diplomatic process. The visit will be his sixth peace-making journey since taking office in February.

Reuters and Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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