by Emet Report
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, “There is an obvious Palestinian attempt to evade direct negotiations.” At the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting Netanyahu said, “As far as we are concerned, we are ready to start direct negotiations as early as next week.”
The Arab League is slated to convene this week and decide whether or not to approve direct peace talks with Israel. According to Netanyahu, “There is an obvious Palestinian attempt to avoid this move. If anyone had any doubts about our willingness, these doubts have disappeared. The Palestinians are trying to get out of direct talks and are trying to garner the Arab League’s support.”
He added that the Palestinians “continue to try to weave the reasons why they do not want to enter direct negotiations: At first they said it was the borders and the freeze. But we prepared ourselves and are ready to begin direct talks next week. These are the same issues that were raised with the American president. He knows that we are ready and willing to enter negotiations.”
Commenting on his meeting with US President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said it was “blunt” and that the two spokes “Openly, heart-to-heart.”
The prime minister added, “President Obama announced that we are reading and willing to start negotiations. These talks will certainly be difficult, but are preferable. Only direct negotiations will we be able to raise the issues of our security demands and interests.”
Netanyahu said that the subject of maintaining Israel’s security as part of any final status agreement was a major topic during his recent visit to Washington and meetings with top US officials including Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “Security arrangements will be the first major section in any possible agreement with the Palestinians,” promised Netanyahu.
“We will not compromise on security,” asserted the premier, “and that is why I presented it as so crucial before the American government that we create a final status that will not be called into question by Iran and its satellites.”
Netanyahu also briefed Mks regarding the strengthening of the American stance on Israel’s nuclear policy. “There was a growing impression in the international community that the American stance on this subject had shifted,” said Netanyahu.
“It was important to me for Obama to take a clear stand refuting that impression and to reassert the US’s traditional stance on the subject. In the course of my visit, he did so on camera, through a written statement issued from the White House and also in the course of an intimate conversation.”The president said that there is no change in US policy on the subject,” he added.
“He recognized that Israel is in unique state because of its size, the threats against it and its history, that Israel holds a special and different status than other countries and that it is clear that Israel must be capable of defensing itself opposite the combination of threats against it.”
The clarification of US policy, said Netanyahu “is a very important development for Israel. If there were those in the international community there were those who believed that the dials were turning against Israel, it is now clear that the opposite is true.”