Netanyahu ‘Concerned’ About Peace Talks as ‘Palestinians Continuing With Incitement’
As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a long day of meetings aimed at enlivening the peace talks in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed the finger at the intransigence of his interlocutors in the Palestinian Authority for “continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crises, continue to avoid, run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace.”
“We seek peace with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said at the start of a three-hour meeting before Kerry ‘s shuttle diplomacy continued with an address at an economic event in Bethlehem, and a meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and then Israeli President Shimon Peres, before returning to a dinner in Jerusalem with Netanyahu.
“We agreed three months ago on terms. We stand by those terms, we abide scrupulously by the terms of the agreement and the understandings with which we launched the negotiations,” Netanyahu said.
Kerry responded by attempting to frame the status after three months of talks within their nine-month time frame.
“We are three months into this negotiation… there are always difficulties, always tensions,” Kerry said, according to AFP. “We need the space to negotiate privately, secretly, quietly.”
Progress was possible with “a serious effort” on both sides, Kerry said, according to AFP. “I hope we will continue in the good faith that brought the parties together in the first place. We have six months ahead of us on the timetable we have set for ourselves and I am confident we have the ability to make progress.”
Late Tuesday, AFP reported that Kerry’s first stop on arrival in Israel was, in a symbolic gesture, to visit the Tel Aviv square where the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated 18 years ago for his support of peace talks.
“He dared to take the risks for peace, not just because it was important to take the risks, but that it was vital to secure the future of Israel and the region,” Kerry told reporters after laying a wreath, AFP said. He urged Israeli leaders to seek peace “with the same determination prime minister Rabin showed.”
On Monday, Kerry was in Riyadh where he denied to reporters that the U.S. had drafted a proposal for an interim agreement which would be presented to the sides early next year in order to move the negotiations forward.
“Let me categorically dispel any notion that there is anything other than the track that is formally engaged in between Israel and the Palestinians,” Kerry said, according to AFP. “There is no other plan at this point in time.”