Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Israel accuses Palestinians of incitement over talks

Israel accuses Palestinians of incitement over talks

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu: "I'm concerned about their [the talks] progress because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed the Palestinians for the apparent stalemate in their peace talks, accusing them of creating "artificial crises" and incitement.
He spoke after talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is attempting to revive the peace process.
The direct negotiations launched in July have shown little sign of progress and are due to end next April.
Mr Kerry will later meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The secretary of state has denied media speculation that he may propose a new interim peace deal.
Kerry confident
Mr Netanyahu said Israel stood by the terms agreed for the talks.
"I'm concerned about their progress because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to avoid, run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace," he said.
On Tuesday, some Israeli media reported that Israeli negotiators had told their Palestinian counterparts that the barrier built by Israel in and around the occupied West Bank should serve as the border of a future Palestinian state.

Israeli-Palestinian talks

  • Palestinian team leaders: Saeb Erekat and Muhammed Shtayyeh
  • Israeli team leaders: Tzipi Livni and Isaac Molcho
  • US mediators: Martin Indyk and Frank Lowenstein
  • Key issues: Status of Jerusalem; borders; security arrangements; settlements and possible land swaps; Palestinian refugees
And on Sunday, the Maariv newspaper carried a report saying Israel would build a security fence in the Jordan Valley, along the border with Jordan - a claim denounced by the Palestinians.
Mr Abbas also told a meeting of his Fatah movement that the negotiations with Israel had not made any progress so far, according to the Maan news agency.
For his part, Mr Kerry told the Israeli prime minister that, despite such reports, he was confident a deal could be reached.
"We are now three months into this negotiation. There are always difficulties, always tensions. I'm very confident of our ability to work through them. That's why I'm here," he said.
"With good faith, with a serious effort on both sides to make real compromises and hard decisions, this can be achieved."
Mr Kerry is pursuing an agreement based on a "two-state solution" that envisages Israel and a Palestinian state - consisting of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - existing alongside each other.
He has previously said that all "final-status" issues - Jerusalem, borders, security arrangements, Jewish settlements and Palestinian refugees - are on the table.
The negotiating sessions have been held in secret locations and at undisclosed times as part of a US-requested media blackout. But both sides have voiced frustration at a lack of progress on core issues.
Mr Netanyahu wants Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as a priority, whereas the Palestinians say borders and security top their agenda.
The Palestinians want their state to include all land captured by Israel in 1967, but some 500,000 Jews now live in more than 200 settlements and outposts in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.
However, Mr Netanyahu has rejected any return to the pre-1967 ceasefire lines as "indefensible", saying it would not take into account the "demographic changes on the ground".
Mutually-agreed land swaps have been discussed in previous talks as a way to overcome this problem.