Monday, September 26, 2011

Netanyahu: 'We won't renew settlement freeze to lure PA to talks'

Israel will not declare a new settlement freeze to get the Palestinians to agree to the Quartet's formula for a renewal of talks, Prime Minister Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post, in a Rosh Hashana interview on Monday.

"It is a pretext they use again and again, but I think a lot of people see it as a ruse to avoid direct negotiations."
Netanyahu said he had no intention of intervening with Interior Ministry's District Planning Committee that is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the construction of project of more than 700 housing units in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood, located over the Green Line, even though the Quartet – in its statement Friday – called on "the parties to refrain from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective".

"I don't think there is anything new, We plan in Jerusalem. We build in Jerusalem. Period. The same way Israeli governments have been doing for years, since the end of the 1967 war. We build in Jewish neighborhoods, the Arabs build in Arab neighborhoods, that is the way the life of this city goes on and develops for its Jewish and non-Jewish residents alike."

"The Americans know this, they have followed this a long time. There is really nothing new."
Responding to criticism that his speech Friday to the UN, while an articulate explanation of Israel's position and fears, did not provide any hope for solving the conflict, Netanyahu said:
"The hope we have is standing on the principles that served us well not only through the life of the state, but even through he whole course of Zionism, throughout our history."

"You can't build hope on the foundation of lies...the Palestinians inability to utter the words "the Jewish people or the Jewish state" is not something that can be glossed over."

"There is a problem there, and you can’t build hope by shutting your eyes and saying it doesn't matter, Of course it matters, this is what this conflict is all about. It is not about the settlements, it is about the Jewish state. And it must be said over and over again."