Speaker Edelstein
Speaker EdelsteinIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) says that attempting to reach a “peace deal” with the Palestinian Authority (PA) could wind up causing more violence rather than reducing it.

"If the idea is to reach a permanent accord in nine months,” he told Arutz Sheva, “then I still haven't found anyone with a convincing answer, who can tell me if [Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas] represents Judea and Samaria, or Gaza as well. I have yet to hear anyone give a commitment that he is also speaking for Gaza. There is a different government there. So the chances are very slim.

Edelstein advocated a reduction in the scope of the talks. “If the negotiations concentrate on cooperation in different areas like the economy, water, environment etc., I think we can gain from the talks. If we are dragged into gestures like releasing prisoners and perhaps other things, all the Palestinians will be interested in will be to take as much as they can and leave. If we discuss cooperation agreements out of an understanding that the time is not ripe for agreements, we will be better off.”

Trying to resolve all of the problems, as was attempted in previous rounds of negotiation, will result in a wave of violence, and international activity to boycott Israel, the Knesset speaker predicted.

When asked if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau doesn't understand all of this, Edelstein said that he realizes that there is a lot of pressure being applied to Netanyahu. While the prime minister himself used to advocate pursuing “an economic peace” with the PA, Edelstein noted, “it seems that with the fervor of some elements in Washington and the international community to achive an instant peace, it is hard to convince them that this road leads nowhere.”