No Palestinian peace deal possible now in Israel

Israel has concluded that a final peace deal with the Palestinians cannot be reached at this time and is weighing alternatives to try to prove that it is interested in keeping peacemaking with the Palestinians alive.

Updated: Mar 04, 2011, 00:33 AM IST

Jerusalem: Israel has concluded that a final
peace deal with the Palestinians cannot be reached at this
time and is weighing alternatives to try to prove that it is
interested in keeping peacemaking with the Palestinians alive,
officials said on Thursday.

With popular protests shaking up the Mideast, Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under fierce
international pressure to prove he is serious about getting
peacemaking moving again, especially after the US vetoed a
UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel`s West Bank
settlement construction last month.

Israeli officials are meeting with international
mediators, including US envoy Dennis Ross and representatives
of the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers, the US, European Union,
United Nations and Russia, due to arrive in the region next
week.

Government officials say Netanyahu is expected to deliver
a major policy speech on peacemaking in the coming weeks,
hinting at a change in direction away from direct talks on a
peace treaty.

Privately, officials say Netanyahu is considering a
phased approach to peacemaking, but contrary to published
reports, it is not clear if he is open to the concept of a
Palestinian state within temporary borders.

"The consistent refusal of the Palestinian leadership to
negotiate with Israel has made a negotiated agreement all but
impossible to achieve, at least for the time being," one
government official said. "And so we`re looking at an Israeli
initiative, and steps that we can take that would be a phased
approach to a final status agreement."

Officials did not offer details of the alternatives
Netanyahu was considering. All spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorised to discuss the emerging plan.

PTI