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February 22, 2011 3:08 pm

Netanyahu Calls for Return to Negotiating Table

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

“Over the weekend, US President Barack Obama decided to veto a draft UN Security Council decision condemning Israel. Israel deeply appreciates this decision and we remain committed to advancing peace both with our neighbors in the region and with the Palestinians.  I believe that the US decision makes it clear that the only way to peace is direct negotiations and not through the actions of international bodies, which are designed to bypass direct negotiations.

Reached in New York, a spokesman for the Israeli government told the Algemeiner that the Prime Minister and the Israeli government continue to believe that “direct negotiation between Israel and Palestine is the only way to go.”  Recalling Prime Minister Netanyahu’s geographical comment “it is a very short ride between Ramallah and Jerusalem” and his open invitation to return to the negotiating table “with no pre conditions.” He  commented that going to the United Nations Security Council “is disruptive to the negotiations…I appreciate the United States’ position, with contributes to the reestablishment of the peace process, and regret that the other members have deferred from making the same contribution.”

“Especially in this time of extreme change in the Middle East, it is interesting that the Security Council is considering only one issue in the Israel-Palestine negotiations,”

As decades of anger rage through the streets throughout the Middle East, Israel has restrained from commenting on any of the changes underway. For decades, Israelis relied on the status quo of the “cold peace” agreements with Egypt and Jordan.  Despite the agreements, anti Israel sentiments among those nations’ masses continued. Educational barriers have not been broken, and school books often remain virulently anti Israel.  Despite this, comments a Yediot Ahronot editorial, “there are still those in Israel who are saying that “this is the time to make peace.”

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  • Whether the UN issues pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli resolutions is entirely irrelevant to the central issue which is to somehow persuade the Israelis and the Palestinians that peace is a more desirable state of affairs than war. All efforts should be channeled into that huge challenge. Bureaucratic resolutions passed by parties who have no stake in the outcome are not going to change anything. For the Israelis, peace needs to be considered a better option both economically and in security terms in order for their mind-set to get shifted.