Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) was skeptical on Monday that the latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would lead to any results, as Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and attorney Yitzchak Molcho arrived in Washington to begin the talks.
"Our partners are vile people," Katz told Channel 2 News. "They do not really come in order to start with a clean slate.”
"The education system in the PA calls for hatred of Jews, for our extinction. It starts there at a very young age and everyone knows this,” he added. "I support dialogue but oppose preconditions. I see the release of murderous terrorists as a precondition.”
He noted that the 104 terrorist prisoners that Israel voted to release as a gesture to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were imprisoned before the 1993 Oslo Accord and noted that "even Rabin refused to release terrorists. If the release was done as part of a permanent peace agreement, much of the public would relate to things differently."
Katz, who voted against the terrorists’ release, said that as soon as the decision was made to carry out the release, the entire government is now obligated towards it.
"This is not the first time I had to decide on such a matter," he said. "Every minister, with his own conscience and personal viewpoint, may and must decide on his own. Now the entire government is obligated, since the decision passed.”
"For several years we’ve said, 'Let's talk.'" noted Katz. "The Prime Minister himself offered Abbas to come and sit down, and he did not come. Unfortunately, these gestures do not change the perspective of the other side. Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised, and then definitely it will be possible to take steps such as this.”