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MK Erdan: PA Responsible for Lack of Agreement, not Bibi

Yisrael Beiteinu Minister responds to accusations by former PM Olmert, "Palestinians want to start negotiations from the finish line"
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 7/15/2013, 8:21 AM

Minister Gilad Erdan
Minister Gilad Erdan
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan hit back at accusations by former PM Ehud Olmert, who asserted that US Secretary of State John Kerry was "wasting his time" trying to kick-start negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking during an event in honor of the release of a book by journalist Ron Pundak on the Oslo Accords, Olmert said that Kerry “puts too much energy on these trips. Every time one meeting after another, all in order to set conditions for the start of negotiations that will end after one day.”

Olmert added, "We are approaching the stage where the international community will place most of the responsibility over the absence of an agreement on Israel. It will harm Israel's international legitimacy, which can affect our way of life.”

The former PM went on to imply that current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would ultimately be the one to scupper any peace agreement, as he would inevitably refuse to accept PA demands for a Palestinian state based on what he termed the "1967 borders." 

Minister Gil'ad Erdan responded in an interview with IDF Radio, saying that the problem in fact lay with the Palestinian Authority leadership

"Despite the blatant disregard Ehud Olmert has for Kerry's shuttle diplomacy trips, there are still, unfortunately, preconditions from the Palestinian side."

The Likud Beyteinu lawmaker continued, "Essentially, the Palestinians are demanding to start negotiations around the finish line. Maybe they can get that from Olmert, but not from Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud government."