Netanyahu looking over shoulder 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel is ready to begin direct talks with the Palestinian Authority as early as next Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in advance of this week's Arab League meeting in Cairo. The Arab League meeting is expected to rule on whether or not the Palestinians should hold direct talks with Israel.
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The statement, said officials close to the prime minister, was the first time that Netanyahu has offered a concrete timetable for Israel's participation in direct talks.
But Netanyahu's statement does not necessarily bring the direct talks any closer. In the course of the briefing, Netanyahu told MKs that the Palestinians do not actually want to hold direct talks and that they hope that the Arab League will block such talks. Netanyahu accused the PA of creating various obstacles heretofore in initiating talks – first, he said, they cited the building freeze and later cited the issue of borders.
“If there was any doubt before that they were trying to avoid direct
talks, now it is patently clear,” complained Netanyahu. “From our
perspective, however, we are ready to go to direct talks as early as
Obama, Netanyahu said, “knows that Israel is ready for and trying to arrive at negotiations.”
“There is no doubt that direct talks are desirable for Israel. It is
only through direct talks that we can raise the important topics and
demands regarding our critical security interests.”