Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the regular weekly meeting of his Cabinet today (Sunday, 4 July 10) that he hopes direct talks with Palestinian officials will be one of the outcomes of his forthcoming trip to Washington.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday.
“Ramallah almost touches Jerusalem”, Netanhayu told his cabinet. “I have been ready to meet with Abu Mazen since this Government’s first day in office”.
Netanyahu noted that “The main goal of the talks with President Obama will be to advance direct talks in the peace process between us and the Palestinians … On the issue of direct talks, there is no substitute for entering into such negotiations. There is no substitute. One cannot raise ideas in either the media or by other means, and avoid that direct contact, that is the only possible way to bring about a solution to the conflict between us and the Palestinians. We are ten minutes apart”.
This is a slight exaggeration, since Netanyahu has probably not been to Ramallah in a long time, and perhaps never. Traffic is absolutely terrible. And the Qalandia checkpoint will probably have to be completely closed down if Netanyahu were ever to come to visit… as he proposed in public remarks in front of journalists when he was meeting U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell last week [See our previous post on this, here.]
Netanyahu added: “Whoever desires peace will hold direct peace talks. I hope that this will be one of the results of my trip to Washington”.
The Israeli newspaper Maariv is reporting today that after the trip to Washington, Netanyahu will make a visit to Cairo to meet Egyptian President Husni Mubarak. Didi Remez has posted a translation of this report into English (from the original Hebrew) on his website here.
Ma’an News Agency is reporting today that “The Arab League will turn to the UN Security Council to declare a Palestinian state if proximity talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials fail to achieve progress by September, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul Gheit said Saturday. According to Egyptian news site Al-Masry Al-Youm, Abul Gheit said Arab countries should act while taking into consideration UNSC Resolution 1515, calling for the creation of a Palestinian state in coexistence with Israel, which the Arab League decision is based on”…
UNSC Resolution 1515 was adopted — unanimously — on 19 November 2003, and it endorses the Roadmap presented on 30 April 2003.
Resolution 1515 reaffirms “its vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders”. In its operative paragraphs, this resolution “Endorses the Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” and “Calls on the parties to their obligations under the Roadmap in cooperation with the Quartet and to achlieve the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security”. This resolution is published by the United Nations, and can be viewed by clicking on the link for Security Council Resolution at this web page here.
The Ma’an report added that “The Arab League endorsed the second round of US-brokered indirect talks with Israel in May, after they were initially derailed in March following Israel’s announcement that an illegal East Jerusalem settlement would be enlarged during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the region. The body gave the talks a four-month deadline and has repeatedly called on Israel to abidoste by its various commitments with regard to occupied Palestinian and Syrian land, threatening to rethink the Arab Peace Initiative on several occasions. Last week, Arab League chief Amr Moussa said an emergency summit will be held in October”… This Ma’an story is posted here .