PM calls for direct talks with Abbas

Netanyahu says he would travel to Ramallah to discuss building freeze.

Netanyahu spreads arms 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Netanyahu spreads arms 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized the Palestinian leadership's unwillingness to engage in direct talks in an interview that aired Friday night on Channel one.
"We walk towards peace and they distance themselves from it," said Netanyahu. "If they can't sit with us, how can we achieve peace?"
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The prime minister stated his willingness to discuss the end of the government's building freeze in Judea and Samaria, set to end in September, with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He went as far as to say that he would go to Ramallah to negotiate with Abbas if the PA chairman would come to Jerusalem.
Netanyahu also sought in the interview to downplay accounts of increased pressure from President Obama regarding Israel's stance towards the Palestinians and talk of poor relations between the White House and the current Israeli government. He emphasized that Israel and the US continue to share a strong connection despite perceived differences with the current Obama administration.
The prime minister admitted that while Obama administration's approach towards Israel may be different from that of past US administrations, the US and Israel still share the same goals of preventing a nuclear Iran as well as achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
"There is a fundamental connection in basic interests between the US and Israel in two areas. One, to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And two, to achieve an immediate peace between the Palestinians and Israel," said Netanyahu.