'Israeli-Palestinian talks must resume'

Intel minister: Israel paying heavy toll for impasse; says PA response to PM's speech still unclear.

dan meridor 224.88 (photo credit: Knesset Web site)
dan meridor 224.88
(photo credit: Knesset Web site)
The current impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations cannot continue, as "the situation is taking a toll too heavy for Israel," Intelligence Affairs Minister Dan Meridor said on Thursday. Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Meridor at the same time clarified that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would not make offers more generous than his predecessor Ehud Olmert. "The Palestinians must show they are undergoing a change that will lead to an agreement," Meridor said. "Netanyahu declared in his [Bar Ilan policy] speech that he agrees to the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state, and the path [Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam] Fayad has chosen to take is still unclear." Turning to the Iranian situation, the intelligence affairs minister said the Middle East was in a state of uncertainty, "not only because of what is happening over the past few days in Iran, but because of the struggle between extremists and moderates in the Muslim world." "There is great significance to whether Iran will [achieve nuclear capacity] or not, and that has a direct impact on Hamas and Hizbullah," Meridor said, explaining that a nuclear Iran would strengthen the extreme Islamist organizations, which would accordingly be weakened if the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions remained unfulfilled.