“The word peace is foreign to the Palestinians,” Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said on Sunday.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Akunis pointed out that senior officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed framework for peace.
Akunis noted that he, as do his colleagues in the Likud, are also against Kerry’s proposal, of which little has been made public but which, according to some reports, calls for an Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible 1949 Armistice lines.
“The Palestinians say that even a document such as this does not satisfy them. That takes me back to two points in time - the Ehud Barak offer and the Ehud Olmert offer, both of which were far-reaching offers that included giving away everything to the Palestinians, who did not accept even those proposals. My conclusion from that is that the Palestinians are not ready for peace. The term peace does not exist in their lexicon,” he said.
Akunis addressed the letter that was sent last week by 21 MKs from the Lobby for the Land of Israel, and which called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to accept the sudden American demands for a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.
He explained that the decision to publish the letter came after MKs received disturbing information, according to which the Americans were pushing Netanyahu to make more “gestures” to the PA. One of these “gestures” is a construction freeze so that peace talks can continue for another year.
“This idea is unacceptable in any form,” said Akunis, who reminded that the last construction freeze, in 2009, did not lead to the resumption of negotiations but, in fact, achieved the opposite. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas toughened his stance and imposed more preconditions on peace talks.
"With all due respect to our friendship with the United States of America, a friendship which I support, their pressure is unbearable,” he told Arutz Sheva.
“One result of this unbearable pressure was our mistake of releasing vile terrorist murderers,” added Akunis. “We are now ahead of the fourth batch of terrorists to be released, and that's part of the demands and pressure exerted by John Kerry and the State Department, pressure which is also supported by the White House. Therefore our group which sees itself as loyal to the Land of Israel came and told the Prime Minister, and by extension the United States, that the mistakes of the past should not be repeated. These things do not promote peace, they move it further away.”