Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin had harsh criticism for Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday, after she held a meeting with the American mediator Martin Indyk, and Palestinian Authority (PA) chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, despite the PA’s breaching the conditions of the peace talks by signing a request to join several UN agencies.
"Holding a negotiation meeting with Erekat after the Palestinians turned to the UN, despite all their promises, is a disgrace for Israel,” declared Elkin.
“It's time that Israel stop being the sucker of the Middle East. I call on the Prime Minister and Minister Livni to stop the whole negotiating process until [PA Chairman] Abbas cancels his appeal to the UN,” he added.
Elkin called on Israel to use “the many levers we have to prove that to the Palestinian leadership that it does not pay to fight us in the international arena.”
Earlier Wednesday, Livni declared her determination to return to the negotiating table - despite the PA's defiant move to apply for legitimacy at fifteen international organizations.
"Not the Palestinians, nor anyone else can dictate to us whether or not we are fighting for peace," she continued. "Even when peace seems very far away, and when the other side's conduct is wrong [. . .] we will return to the negotiating table, we are obligated to return to talks."
The White House, meanwhile, said Wednesday it was disappointed by "unhelpful" actions by both Israel and the PA.
White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest expressed disappointment at "unhelpful, unilateral actions both parties have taken in recent days," possibly also referring to Israel's decision to reissue tenders for just over 700 housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. A building freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem was not among the preconditions to talks, but both the PA and the US administration have nevertheless criticized Israeli building plans in the past.