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Palestinians should perish from this world: Ovadia Yosef

An influential Israeli spiritual leader has denounced the move, dubbing the Palestinians and their leader "an evil and bitter enemies of Israel" who should "perish from this world."



Jerusalem: Just ahead of renewed peace
talks between Israel and the Palestine, an influential Israeli
spiritual leader has denounced the move, dubbing the
Palestinians and their leader "an evil and bitter enemies of
Israel" who should "perish from this world."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the
upcoming launch of peace talks an opportunity to secure
endurable peace, lasting generations.

But, Ovadia Yosef, spiritual head of the religious
Shas party in the government, denounced the talks, scheduled
to kickstart on September 2, and said, "Abu Mazen (nom de
guerre for Abbas) and all these evil people should perish from
this world,"
"God should strike them with a plague, them and these
Palestinians," Rabbi Ovadia was quoted as saying during his
weekly sermon at a synagogue near his Jerusalem home.

The Shas party mentor also called the Palestinians
"evil, bitter enemies of Israel" during his speech, which is
not the Rabbi`s first sermon that has sparked controversy.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu today said he is optimistic that
a deal will be reached during the talks.

"I am convinced that if the Palestinian leadership
takes the negotiations as seriously as we do, we can reach a
stable agreement, not just a deal for a tactical ceasefire
between wars,"
"We can reach a peace based on stability for us and
for our children and that is my goal," he said.

Earlier, in 2001, the spiritual leader of the
ultra-Orthodox faction had called for "Arabs` annihilation".

"It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send
missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and
damnable," he was then quoted as saying.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Eli
Yishai, who is also the Chairman of the Shas party, earlier
this week said that he would oppose extending the West Bank
settlement building freeze due to expire on September 26.

Yishai has suggested that Israel would continue
construction in the main settlement blocs likely to remain
part of Israel in the framework of a peace deal, but freeze
construction in outposts or more remote settlements.

Netanyahu has so far refused to address Palestinian
demands to continue a 10-month freeze on the building of
Israeli settlements in the West Bank, described by PA as a
deal breaker.

Washington has invited the Israeli premier, PA
President, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordanian King
Abdullah and Quartet envoy in the region, Tony Blair, to
attend the conference on September 2 to launch direct
negotiations between the two sides, stalled for almost two
years.

The Quartet of international peace mediators in the
region comprises of the United Nations, United States,
European Union and Russia.

PTI

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