Israel's Barak calls for "bold" action on peace process front
Israel needs to come up with a peace initiative soon, and cannot wait until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress in May, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Monday, dpa reported.
"The end of May is much too late. This is the time to take risks in order to prevent international isolation," Barak told Israel Radio.
What was needed, he said, was some sort of "bold" action, such as concrete talks with the Palestinians on all the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or an attempt to reach an interim agreement.
But, he warned, an interim agreement would only work if Israel made it clear what a final agreement would contain.
In trying to reach a peace deal, Barak said, Israel was "not doing a favour to the Palestinians", but was ensuring its own security and future, and freeing itself from the burden of ruling over another people.
Direct Israeli-Palestinians peace talks have been in limbo since the end of September, when Israel rejected calls to extend a limited and partial 10-month freeze on construction at its West Bank settlements.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that negotiations will not resume until and unless Israel freezes all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
For its part, Israel has accused the Palestinians of stonewalling, pointing out that Palestinians only agreed to direct talks one month before the 10-month freeze was due to end, and noting that previous rounds of peace talks took place without any settlement freeze.