PM: 'Peace is difficult, but possible'

Netanyahu tells cabinet accord to necessitate Palestinian concessions.

Netanyahu arrives at cabinet meeting 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Netanyahu arrives at cabinet meeting 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
A successful conclusion to direct negotiations with the Palestinians will require concessions from the Palestinian side, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said Sunday, in his first public comments about the announcement of the relaunching of talks.
“I am aware that there is a great deal of skepticism after 17 years having passed since the beginning of the Oslo process, and it is possible to understand why this doubt exists. We want to surprise all the critics and the skeptics, but for that we need a real partner on the Palestinian side,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
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The talks are scheduled to be launched in Washington on September 2.
Netanyahu said that if there was a “real partner on the Palestinian side, sincere and serious in negotiations, negotiations which will require both sides to take necessary measures, not only the Israeli side but also the Palestinian side,” then it would be possible to “shortly reach a historic peace agreement between the two peoples.”
This agreement, he said, would be based on three initial components: “real and sustainable security” arrangements on the ground; a Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, meaning that Palestinian refugees would be absorbed in a future Palestinian state; and an end to the conflict.
“We are discussing a peace agreement between Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state,” he said. “This state, if it should be established after this process, is due to end the conflict and not to be a façade for its continuation by other means.
“The achievement of a peace agreement between us and the Palestinian Authority is a difficult thing, but it is possible,” he said. “We are coming to talks from a real desire to achieve a peace agreement between the two peoples, while safeguarding Israel’s national interests, first and foremost security.”