Prosor: Palestinians ‘playing games’ in peace talks
Yacimovich assails Netanyahu for "slapping Americans in face," igniting the diplomatic front.
By MICHAEL WILNER, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
The resignation of Palestinian negotiators last week from peace talks with Israel is a “pretext to exit the talks,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.Prosor called the move a tactic, either to genuinely sabotage the talks or to cajole more concessions from the Israeli government.“Playing games is a no-no,” Prosor said, especially in light of the murder of an Israeli soldier at the hands of a 16-yearold Palestinian in Afula.He said the resignation obviously “wasn’t a good sign,” coming halfway through a nine-month commitment to talks by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.Prosor was in Washington addressing dozens of US congressmen on Capitol Hill, attending the 2013 conference of the Israel Allies Foundation.Labor Party chairwoman and opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich criticized Netanyahu on Saturday over the lack of progress in peace talks with the Palestinians.“In the last two weeks, we have watched with great disappointment at the manner in which the talks have been handled,” Yacimovich said.“It’s a slap in the face to the Americans. It’s complete insanity [for this to happen] at the same time that [the government] is igniting the diplomatic front as it relates to the Iranian issue.”The Labor chief said that the party would not join the Netanyahu government, but it would support the coalition if tangible progress was made in the peace process.“Crawling to the Netanyahu government now would put an immediate end to any chance of the talks succeeding,” she said during an appearance at a town hall meeting in Holon.“Netanyahu would have the benefit of a nice, big fig leaf and he won’t have to do anything else. This would be a huge mistake, similar to the one made by Labor under the leadership of [Ehud] Barak.”Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who resigned earlier this month over continued Israeli settlement construction, accused Israel on Thursday of trying to sabotage the peace process.“The only thing that is ongoing [at the moment] is the destruction, undermining and torpedoing of the two state solution by the settlement activities,” he told Channel 2 in an interview. He said that by continuing settlement construction Israel is dictating conditions to the talks.“The real negotiation is taking place between Prime Minister [Netanyahu], [Construction and Housing Minister Uri] Ariel, [Defense Minister Moshe] Ya’alon and [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman,” he said.“I thought I was there to produce a two-state solution in the 1967 borders, but all that happened in the 100 days of negotiations is there were more than 6,000 housing units announced – before the recent 20,000 – more than 19 Palestinians were killed, more than 129 homes were demolished and settler violence increased by 49 percent in the West Bank,” he said.“Imagine that I declare today that I want to build 24,000 housing units in Israel for Arabs and then I will speak to you about a two-state solution.Do you believe this?” Erekat also revealed some of the concessions the Palestinians have agreed to as a part of ongoing peace talks.“We have accepted minor [land] swaps in size and value, we have accepted limitations on the nature of Palestine in the future – strong police force, no army, no navy, no air force – we have accepted all the criteria that would lead to a twostate solution,” he said.Erekat accused Netanyahu of failing to declare support for a two-state solution within the June 4, 1967, lines.He also accused the Israeli government of lying by saying that the Palestinians have agreed to continued settlement construction in return for the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners.“I’m the one who made the deal with [US Secretary of State John] Kerry. We committed not to seek upgrading the state of Palestine’s status at the UN for nine months in exchange for the 104 prisoners, and then we see Israeli officials saying the Palestinians traded the prisoners for settlements. I cannot tolerate such lies.”
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