Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that, when it comes to peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), “it’s time to stop negotiating about the negotiations.”
Speaking during inter-governmental consultations in Poland, Netanyahu called on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has refused to talk to Israel for nearly three years, to come to the table without preconditions.
"I want peace. To achieve peace, we must negotiate peace,” he said. “We want to see this American effort succeed. Israel is ready for the resumption of direct negotiations for peace without preconditions. I think it is time to stop squabbling over preconditions. I think it's time to stop negotiating about the negotiations. I think we have to start peace talks immediately.”
Netanyahu added, “My goal is to see a historic compromise that ends the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians once and for all. This will entail a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, with iron clad security arrangements for Israel – recognition, security, demilitarization. I believe that these are the elements for peace. I don't pose them as preconditions for negotiations. I look forward to enter those negotiations without preconditions without delay. I am ready for such a peace. I hope the Palestinians are ready too.”
Netanyahu disavowed the statement, released earlier in the day by the Prime Minister’s Office and which would have expressed strong support for the "two state solution".
An aide explained that the prime minister had not gone over the text, and added, "It was written by junior-level officers in the National Security Council."
Abbas, instead of talking to Israel, has continued to impose preconditions on talks, including a demand that Israel release terrorists who were jailed before 1993, freeze construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and even present a map of the future Palestinian state before any negotiations take place.
He has repeatedly ignored calls by Netanyahu to come to the negotiating table, but has been facing pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to resume peace talks.