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      Netanyahu 'Ready to Go to Ramallah'

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “ready to go to Ramallah” to meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for talks, he tells Arab media.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 1/30/2012, 10:40 PM

      PM Binyamin Netanyahu chats online
      PM Binyamin Netanyahu chats online
      PMO / Facebook screenshot

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “ready to go to Ramallah” to meet with Palestinian Authority / PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and open negotiations, according to an interview published Monday night by the PA-linked Ma'an news agency.

      In Arabic-language comments typed live through the chat function on his official Facebook page, Netanyahu told Arab journalists, “We are completely serious about talks with the Palestinians, but unfortunately the Palestinian side refuses."

      The PLO called a halt to dialogue after the fifth and final meeting in a series of exploratory negotiations between Israeli envoy Yitzchak Molcho and PLO representative Saeb Erekat ended last Wednesday.

      "Advancing negotiations is the only way towards peace,” he pointed out. "I want to talk with the Palestinians in order to open channels at all levels. This is in the Palestinians' and the Arabs' interest,” he continued. 

      "Israel can help develop the region economically, and wants to see a prosperous future for all countries in the region. I feel disappointed because peace treaties have not led to an economic boom for all. Economy is the outcome of relationships, and economic peace isn't an alternative to political peace, but it helps,” he pointed out.

      The prime minister added in response to a question about what he thinks Palestinians should do, “The Palestinian president should have continued with talks. This is what the international community wants both sides to do.”

      In response to a question about the Arab Spring, Netanyahu commented that Israel was supportive of the democratic process. "There are misconceptions about Israel, and many Arabs do not know that the Arabs living in Israel serve in the government, in the parliament, and enjoy complete rights.

      "The impression that Israel does not want peace is incorrect. We know the value of peace, and one of the obstacles is the misconception about Israel's attitude toward peace.

      Asked about Iran, Netanyahu pulled no punches:

      "Iran is a threat to peace, to Israel, to the Arab countries, to the Middle East and to the whole world,” he wrote.

      “They are arming terrorist organizations while they develop their nuclear power seeking to control the Middle East and the whole world.”