prime minister binyamin netanyahu informing_311.
(photo credit: GPO/Moshe Milner)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday accused the Palestinians of breaking
their pledge to keep the content of the recent talks in Amman
“There was a commitment made by the parties in Jordan that
they would be very discreet about the negotiations,” Netanyahu told the Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee at the Knesset.
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Instead, chief Palestinian
negotiator Saeb Erekat has leaked information to the media, the prime minister
“He keeps talking, and talking and talking,” Netanyahu
At a press conference in London, Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas had equally harsh words to say about Netanyahu. During the three
meetings in Amman between Erekat and the prime minister’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho,
the Israelis had failed to put forward any proposal for the peace process, Abbas
“We hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to submit some
proposal to us.
We do not care what type of proposal. Maybe we’ll agree
to it, maybe we’ll not agree to it, but the main thing is that he should submit
some kind of proposal to us,” Abbas said.
“Unfortunately until now – and
this goes until yesterday – no such proposal has been submitted to the
Palestinians,” he added.
Underneath the accusations that flew between the
two leaders is a deep divide over the future of the talks.
Palestinians have insisted that the talks should adhere to the timetable of
January 26 set by the Quartet, unless Israel agrees to halt settlement activity
and stop Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
Israel in turn has insisted
that a three-month timetable had been set for such talks, but since the talks
only started this month instead of in October, their true end date is April
“I hope that we can overcome this obstacle of January 26 so we can
continue the negotiations,” Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and
During the three rounds of talks held in Amman, Israel
presented the Palestinians with a document that listed 21 points that should be
agreed upon by both parties to achieve a framework agreement, he
“These are the issues that need to be resolved,” Netanyahu
The Palestinians have also put a paper on the table, he said. “But
it is the same paper that all Israeli governments have received from the
Palestinians since Oslo started. They have not moved in their position, not a
millimeter and not a nanometer,” he said.
Netanyahu renewed his call for
Abbas to sit down with him face to face.
“When the Jordanians approached
us about starting negotiations, I was ready to go to Jordan,” Netanyahu
He added that it was the Jordanians who stipulated that at this
stage it was better for the talks to be between chief negotiators, in this case
Erekat and Molcho.
“I am willing to meet Abu Mazen [Abbas] any where, any
time. I am willing to go to Ramallah, even though it will drive my security
people crazy. And I am willing to invite Abu Mazen to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu
He added that with the exception of a few brief meetings in
September 2010, the Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel for the
past three years.
Initially, Netanyahu said, he was told that the
Palestinians had hoped the United States would deliver Israel to them without
negotiations. Now, he said, he has been told that the Palestinians have refused
to talk because the US will to deliver Israel to them.
After the Knesset
meeting, Yoaz Hendel, director of communication for the Prime Minister’s Office,
said Israel viewed the renewed talks very seriously, and had put a lot of effort
“We came to the talks intent on advancing the peace process,”
“But there is a feeling that the Palestinians are trying to find
all kinds of reasons to get out of them.”