Wednesday, January 5, 2011

PM Netanyahu's spokesman to BBC: How can we make peace if you won't talk to us?

Israel urged the Palestinian leadership on Wednesday to set aside a diplomatic campaign that was keeping the Middle East peace process at an impasse and get back instead to direct talks.

"There is no doubt that the peace process is currently in an impasse," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told BBC Radio in a London broadcast.

"It's clear unfortunately that the Palestinian leadership has adopted a policy where they refuse to engage directly with Israel. And I would ask them; 'How do you expect to make peace with Israel unless you're willing to talk to Israel?'"

"It is a mirage to think there was any alternative to a negotiated peace agreement".

"It was two decades ago, in 1988, that Yasser Arafat declared an independent Palestinian state and he got countries -- Third-World countries, communist countries, others -- to recognize that state and I would ask the Palestinians what did that recognition give them? Did it change anything on the ground?".

"My prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said publicly that he is willing to do another freeze [on settlements] but he said it cannot be in a vacuum,".

"In other words, we are asking for give and take, we are asking for the peace process to be a two-way street and I ask the Palestinians: 'What are you willing to give to make this process succeed?"