Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, attacked Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of obstructing direct “peace talks”, and said Israel is weighing unilateral moves that would include limited withdrawals from some West Bank areas.The Likud Party leader said peace talks have failed, and that “there is no Palestinian partner in the peace process”, and alleged that Abbas made no efforts to advance towards comprehensive peace with Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu stated that Tel Aviv is considering a number of unilateral moves, but also said Israel is also concerned that “a unilateral move in the West Bank would bring Hamas to power, similar to what happened in the Gaza Strip”.
Hamas garnered an overwhelming victory in the 2006 legislative election, before Israel shunned it, besieged Gaza, kidnapped and imprisoned most of the elected legislators and officials.
He said Tel Aviv is not interested in a Palestinian State, “that would be sponsored by Iran”, and at the same time, Israel does not want to become a bi-national state, as it wants to maintain “its Jewish identity”.
Netanyahu also rejected any notion that political talks with the Palestinians have collapsed due to Israel’s settlement construction and expansion activities in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem.
He said that Israel has been building and expanding settlements in the West Bank, especially during the past twenty years, because “those settlements will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty”, and “will not impact the shape of the future Palestinian State”.
Commenting on the latest Palestinian reconciliation agreement, including the agreement to form an interim unity government that would prepare for elections, Netanyahu said that Abbas chose to reconcile with Hamas, a movement regarded by both Israel and the United States, as a “terrorist group”, therefore, “the Palestinian President proved he is not interested in peace.”
He also accused Abbas of taking a hardline stance, and of not showing any flexibility in direct talks with Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Israeli daily Haaretz said that Netanyahu intends to start, next week, a round of talks with ministers of his government regarding unilateral moves Tel Aviv would take as an “alternative to the deteriorating peace talks with the Palestinians”.
Israel is refusing to hold serious talks with the Palestinians regarding essential final status issues topped by the future of occupied Jerusalem, borders, natural resources, the Jordan Valley and the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees.
It also insists on what it calls its “right” to build and expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank, in and around occupied Jerusalem, in direct violation of International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israeli soldiers, and fanatic Israeli settlers, are also ongoing with their daily violations and abuse against the Palestinians, their homes, lands and their holy sites.