An Israeli official close to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Netanyahu fully opposes any Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 border, and believes that the proposal of land-swap is a “joke”. The statements came as the United States and Israel are trying to come up with a formula that would ensure the resumption of peace talks, based on Israeli preconditions, in order to present it to the European Union in an attempt to ensure it opposes the recognition of a Palestinian State at the United Nations.
Israel paper, Yedioth Aharonoth, reported that ,despite US-Israeli talks, the gap between the stances of U.S. President Barack Obama, and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is still wide as Netanyahu rejected a formula presented by Obama suggesting that the 1967 six-day war borders should be the bases of peace talks that would also lead to land-swap in certain areas so that Israel can keep its settlements.
On Sunday at night, the official said that the Prime Minister does not only oppose talks on Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders, but also opposes the whole proposal and any proposal that includes settlement evacuations, borders and other core issues.
The source added that Netanyahu is restricted by his personal opinions and by his political coalition, and that he still believes that withdrawal and land-swap are unacceptable.
He further stated that, during his talks with Netanyahu, the later told him that talks on land-swap are “just a joke”, and that “Israel has no lands to give to the Palestinians under this formula” as Netanyahu opposes the whole idea in general.
The official also said that Netanyahu looks at settlements blocs in a different way than the White House, as he wants to reach a peace deal that ensures Israel keeps its settlement blocs and as much settlements as it can in the occupied territories.
Netanyahu, according to the official, refers to settlement blocs as areas that have a significant strategic and national interests to Israel.
It is worth mentioning that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, asked Washington to refrain from using its Veto power should other Quartet members (the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, support Palestinian Statehood.
The Quartet is slated to hold a meeting on June 11 to discuss the Palestinian intention to declare statehood during at the United Nations General Assembly this coming September.