While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he believed an
agreement with the Palestinians could be reached within a year, he told Fox News
Sunday that it would take considerably longer to implement that
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“I think there can be a solution [by 2012],” Netanyahu said in
the interview Sunday.
“It may be implemented over time, because time is
an important factor of getting the solution, both in terms of security
arrangements and other things that would be difficult if they’re not allowed to
take place over time.”
According to government sources, Netanyahu
believes that time will be an important component in judging the efficacy of
certain security measures that will have to be put into place.
instance, Netanyahu has said that any agreement would have to include an Israeli
security presence on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state, to ensure
that weapons are not smuggled in. That arrangement, according to this way of
thinking, could later be altered if certain procedures that were put into place
proved themselves over a period of time.
Netanyahu, in a speech Thursday
to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, elaborated on this
“I think the most important thing is to, first, try to define a
clear vision of peace where people see the benefits of what it is they’re
getting,” Netanyahu said.
“The second thing, I think, is to introduce a
very important dimension for the implementation of this peace agreement, and
that is the dimension of time,” he said. “Time is a crucial element both for
security and for other critical elements of a solution. It has – it’s a great
facilitator of change. And if you build in a time factor to any type of solution
that we have, I think it would help enormously. But the rest I’ll leave to the
negotiations that I intend to have with [Palestinian Authority] President
During the questions that followed that speech,
Netanyahu said he believed an agreement could be reached within a
Abbas, in the meantime, was not giving any indication that he would
be quickly jumping into direct negotiations, despite clear signals from US
President Barack Obama that the US wanted to see direct talks begin
Abbas said in a speech late Saturday that he had no incentive to
resume direct talks, and that direct negotiations now would be
“We have presented our vision and thoughts and said that if
progress is made, we will move to direct talks, but that if no progress is made,
it [direct negotiations] will be futile,” Abbas said.
“If they [the
Israelis] say, ‘Come and let’s start negotiations from zero,’ that is futile and
pointless,” Abbas added.
Netanyahu has made it clear that, despite PA
demands, he has no intention of restarting direct negotiations from the place
where former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas left off in late
Netanyahu, briefing Sunday’s cabinet meeting on his recent trip to
the US, reiterated what he said repeatedly while in the US – that he wanted to
start the direct talks immediately.
The prime minister said he had walked
away from the meeting with Obama with the impression that on the US side there
was also the “recognition that we must proceed to direct talks in order to
advance the peace process.”
“I gained the impression that the president
is also attentive to the State of Israel’s special security needs,” he added.
“On these issues, we are working in concert. We hope that the PAwill accede to the call to begin direct talks at soon as possible.”
also told the cabinet that the Israel-US alliance “is stable and
It has the support of the American administration and people. My
visit to the US last week gave tangible expression to the strength and
durability of this unbreakable bond.”
Netanyahu said in the interview
Sunday that the question of Jerusalem would be one of the issues discussed
during the direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
Ways of moving to
direct talks are expected to be high on the agenda when Netanyahu goes to Cairo
Tuesday for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, their fifth meeting
in a year.
Obama, in his meeting with Netanyahu last week in Washington,
made clear that he would like to see Israel transfer more of the West
Palestinian security control.
Netanyahu, for his part, said during an ABC
interview during his trip to the US that, regarding concrete steps that
taken to encourage the Palestinians to enter direct talks, he would be
to take measures such as “additional easing of movements” and joining
Palestinians in some “economic projects.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
said at the cabinet meeting that Netanyahu’s meetings in the US were
Barak said that only diplomatic momentum and direct
negotiations dealing with all the core issues, while ensuring Israel’s
interests, could stop the diplomatic siege on Israel and efforts at
Regarding Israel’s isolation, its ambassador to the UN
said Sunday that the country’s current situation in the UN was
the situation in 1975 when the world body passed the resolution equating
“Our situation in recent months – in fact, from the time
when I took up this position [in 2008] – is not getting better, and
those who compare it to the days when Zionism was equated with racism in
resolution that was later overturned,” Gabriela Shalev said in an Army
“The general feeling inside the UN is very anti-Israel,” she
said.AP contributed to this report.