With previous claims of unsettling his coalition government if he made gestures towards Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a call from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging him and his new coalition partners to advance peace talksA senior U.S. State Department official confirmed that after being briefed on the main points of the coalition deal she welcomed a clause that the two parties would “advance a reasonable peace process.“ She said the United States is ready to support both sides in an effort to achieve a two state solution.
Clinton reportedly told Netanyahu that after his ruling party, The Likud, signed an agreement with the Kadima Party, enabling it to join the coalition government, the expanded government has no reason to stall peace talks.
Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that, over the past three years, Netanyahu always stated that he cannot advance peace talks with the Palestinians as he fears the collapse of his coalition government.
Clinton told Netanyahu that she was “pleased” about a clause in the new coalition that states that “the government will be supporting a responsible peace process”, and added that “The United States is willing to help Israel and the Palestinians in achieving the two-state solution”.
The situation has been at stalemate for some time with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas still waiting on a reply to a letter he had sent previously to Netanyahu.This exchange of correspondence must eventually lead to a resumption of continuous talks between Palestinians and Israeli’s.
Washington it seems is keen to seeing all the pieces in place for a renewed effort when the November elections are over and if President Obama wins a second term.
Netanyahu and his advisers finished drafting his letter to Abbas this week. The process was delayed somewhat by the prime minister’s father’s death last week and the subsequent seven-day mourning period, as well as by the fact that the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, was recently hospitalized following a heart attack.
The letters does not seem to carry any new proposals, but a repetition of previous statements declaring that “Israel is interested in resuming the peace process without preconditions”, the Arabs48 news website reported.
The “preconditions” Israel refers to are, among other issues, the Palestinians decision not to hold direct talks with Tel Aviv before it halts all of its violations, including home demolitions, and settlement construction and expansion polices in the West Bank, especially in and around occupied East Jerusalem.
Netanyahu’s adviser, Yitzhak Molho, will be holding a meeting with Abbas, next week in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, to deliver the official response of Netanyahu and his coalition partners.