Barak meets with Mitchell in Tel Aviv, Thursday..
(photo credit: Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell in Jerusalem on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of moving from proximity talks to direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
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Barak said the move to direct talks would require a Palestinian willingness to do so without preconditions.
The defense minister is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the coming days. Barak said the two would discuss the move to direct talks as well as cooperation between Israel and the PA on security issues.
He added that because of the improvement of the PA's security apparatus
in cooperation with the work of the Shin Bet and the IDF, the situation
in the West Bank is better than it has been in the past.
Barak said that economic issues would also be discussed in his meeting
with Fayyad, including the Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods
manufactured in settlement factories.
The defense minister also said he plans to speak to the PA prime minister about
Palestinian attempts to "work against" Israel in the international