Palestinians wanted peace talks to end - Israel

2014-12-08 08:02
Benjamin Netanyahu. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

Benjamin Netanyahu. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

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Washington - Middle East peace talks collapsed earlier this year because the Palestinians did not want them to continue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintained on Sunday.

Addressing a Washington think-tank in a recorded address, Netanyahu said the "talks ended because the Palestinians wanted them to end".

The Palestinian leadership "is simply not prepared to confront violence and fanaticism within Palestinian society", Netanyahu told the Saban Forum, organised by the Brookings Institution.

Any deal had to ensure a "secure peace" for Israel, he insisted.

"For there can be no peace without real security, and there can be no security without a long-term IDF presence to provide it", he said, referring to the Israeli Defence Forces.

During the recent failed peace bid, Palestinians had "consistently refused to engage us on our legitimate security concerns", Netanyahu said.

After calling snap elections for March, Netanyahu said he hoped to emerge with a "broad and renewed mandate" for a "strong and stable" government capable of protecting "the Jewish state in these tumultuous times".

The new government would have some "tough" decisions to make, he added.

Speaking after the Israeli leader, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the prolonged effort to reach a peace deal, vowed: "I won't give up."

Kerry's dogged peace pursuit collapsed in April amid bitter recriminations on both sides.

But he again insisted that the current status quo in Israeli-Palestinian relations was unsustainable, adding "ongoing unrest had brought new traumas to everybody" referring to a spate of brutal attacks on Jews and Palestinians.

"Common sense and strategic analysis tells us definitively: this cannot go on", Kerry pleaded to the pro-Israel forum.

"Too many Israelis have died, too many Palestinians have died and we have to do everything possible to prevent the loss of more innocent lives and smother the sparks of an immediate tension, which is growing, so that tension does not explode into full-fledged fire."

He insisted that during the nine months of failed negotiations gaps were narrowed, and he understood more about "the tiny needle that has to be threaded" to accommodate the interests of both sides.

"But I still believe that can be done," the top US diplomat said.

He said he knew for most people in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel the idea of peace "sounds dubious at best and impossible to many".

But even though peace negotiations won't resume until after the upcoming elections, the United States "flat-out rejects the notion that peace is a pipe-dream", Kerry said.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  palestine

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