Minister Shalom: The Ball is in Abbas’ Court

Israeli minister says PA has put up ‘every possible barrier’ to talks.

Maayana Miskin ,

Silvan Shalom
Silvan Shalom
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel wants peace with its neighbors, but has been thwarted by the Palestinian Authority, Minister of Energy and Water Silvan Shalom said Tuesday in a meeting with Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

“Until today, the Palestinians have put up every possible barrier, and have prevented negotiations without preconditions,” he said.

“I hope the appointment of the new [United States] Secretary of State John Kerry gives a push… President Obama and Secretary Kerry are determined to renew the negotiations and Israel is ready to restart talks immediately, with no preconditions,” he said. “The ball is in the Palestinians’ court.”

Shalom also spoke to Kasoulides about Israel’s recent overtures to Turkey.

Israel’s attempts to pacify Turkey will not come at Cyprus’ expense, he assured her.

The two discussed ways for Cyprus and Israel to increase their cooperation regarding the development of natural gas resources. Cyprus is planning to build a gas processing plant to export natural gas from offshore deposits, and Israel recently started the flow of gas from an offshore gas field to onshore storage facilities.

They also discussed an underwater cable that would connect the two countries in terms of energy. The 270-kilometer cable would be laid at a depth of 2,000 meters under the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel and Cyprus are also reportedly planning a joint military exercise.