Defense Secretary Leon Panetta slammed Israeli leaders at a Brookings Institution forum on Friday in Washington D.C., demanding that they “just get to the damned table” with Palestinian officials to resume the stalled peace talks.
Panetta also urged Israeli leadership to work harder to mend ties with Turkey and Egypt .
"Just get to the damn table. Just get to the table.... The problem right now is we can’t get them to the damn table to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences – you know, we all know what the pieces are here for a potential agreement. We’ve talked it out, worked through, we understand the concerns, we understand the concerns of Israel, understand the concerns of the Palestinians. If they sit at a table and work through those concerns, and the United States can be of assistance in that process, then I think you have the beginning of what could be a process that would lead to a peace agreement.
But if they aren’t there – if they aren’t at the table, this will never happen. So first and foremost, get to the damn table....
The Daily news reports: Israeli officials responded to Panetta’s broadside on Saturday by insisting that Israel is ready for the resumption of peace talks — without preconditions.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the Palestinians are “playing diplomatic games to try to cover their position, which is to boycott Israel and to refuse to enter negotiations.”