Israel 'not ready' for peace: Palestinian official

Israel 'not ready' for peace: Palestinian official
2 min read
06 June, 2017
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' office on Tuesday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's pledge to keep permanent security control over the West Bank.
Netanyahu's remarks were seen as a stumbling block to peace efforts [AFP]
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' office on Tuesday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's pledge to keep permanent security control over the West Bank, saying Israel was "not ready" for peace. 

The office said Netanyahu's remarks on Monday night were meant as a stumbling block to US President Donald Trump's attempts to breathe life into long-stalled peace efforts.

"They are a message to the US administration and to the international community that Israel is not ready to reach peace based on international law and resolutions," Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina wrote in a statement.

"We reject these remarks, which seek to create a climate that makes the situation more complicated and are absolutely not aimed at supporting efforts for a solution," he added.

Netanyahu made the comments at a ceremony to mark 50 years since the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War.

In that war, Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and subsequently annexed east Jerusalem, in a move never recognised by the international community.

The occupation continues, and under interim agreements with the Palestinians, Israel currently has full security and civil control of 60 percent of the West Bank.

The remainder is under varying degrees of limited Palestinian autonomy but Israeli security forces operate there at will. 

"We seek peace with our neighbours, a real peace, a peace that will last for generations," Netanyahu said at Monday's event.

"That is why in any agreement - and without an agreement - we shall maintain security control over all the territory west of the Jordan" river.

The Palestinian foreign ministry responded in a statement saying "Netanyahu wants to cut off the momentum of US and international efforts to resume negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis." 

Trump visited Israel and the Palestinian territories last month, calling on Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises for peace but offering no specifics on how to resolve the 50-year-old conflict.

During Trump's meeting with Abbas in Bethlehem the two leaders had a heated exchange, said a senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

Trump accused Abbas of anti-Israeli incitement, based on "false" video clips Netanyahu had given the White House, the official said.

"The Palestinian delegation was then able to clarify the situation," he added.