Jerusalem: Israel`s hawkish Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for "outside the box"
thinking to reach a resolution to the vexed Middle East issue
and promised a "historic compromise" with neighbours, provided
his country`s security interests are not harmed.
"In order to succeed this time, we must draw lessons
from 17 years of negotiations, and think in a creative way and
outside the box in order to reach practical solutions.
"I believe this is possible, and I`m willing to reach
a historic compromise with our neighbours, as long as our
interests, led by security, are maintained," Netanyahu told
his cabinet on Sunday, debriefing his ministers.
He said what is required is creative, novel thinking
in order to resolve these complex issues.
The Israeli Premier also said that he has sensed signs
of maturity in the Arab world which he said was realising the
importance of a peace agreement with Israel.
"There may be some important countries which have yet
to stand up for a move of peace, but my impression from their
willingness to reach peace despite the attacks reflects a
feeling of maturity in the Arab world," Netanyahu said.
"It`s time to move forward towards peace with the
Palestinians and extend it to a wider circle," he said.
"This feeling stems from my understanding of the
meaning of the other alternatives, as well as the recognition
(of Arab countries) that an agreement with Israel is
Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
told Army Radio today that Hamas may be willing to accept a
peace deal with Israel should the agreement resolve the core
issues at hand.
"It is now time for decisions, not for negotiations,"
Referring to moratorium on Israel`s building
activities in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem, he
said the next few days would be key in determining the
direction of progress.
Over the weekend Erekat said that Israel and the
Palestinian Authority have agreed on the "core issues" that
will be discussed during their direct talks.
The negotiator claimed that Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu agreed at their meeting in
Washington on Thursday that the peace talks would be resumed
from the point where they were stopped two years ago under
then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The Israeli Prime Minister, though has repeatedly said
that he was not bound by concessions that Olmert offered, and
the Palestinians rejected.