Palestinians not interested in talks: Israeli PM
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Last Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 10:12
  
Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged on Tuesday that the Palestinians have no interest in restarting peace negotiations, suggesting that newly resumed contacts between the sides are producing little progress.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began meeting in Jordan Jan. 3 in an attempt to find a formula to restart formal negotiations. Israeli-Palestinian talks have been stalled for more than three years over the issue of Israeli settlement construction.

"For the last three years, the Palestinians have refused to enter negotiations, thinking they could impose preconditions upon us," Netanyahu told Israeli lawmakers in a closed parliamentary meeting.

"The Palestinian have no interest in entering peace talks. I'm ready to travel now to Ramallah to start peace talks with Abu Mazen, without preconditions. But the simple truth is that Abu Mazen is not ready," he said. Abbas is widely known as Abu Mazen.

Netanyahu's comments were relayed by a meeting participant who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed.

Abbas says the Palestinians will not resume talks unless Israel stops building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 war from Jordan and claimed by the Palestinians as parts of their future state.

Abbas says continued growth in the settlements, now home to some 500,000 Israelis, is a sign of bad faith by Israel.

Israel maintains that the issue of settlements would be solved automatically once there are agreed-upon borders and rejects any preconditions to negotiations.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 10:12


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