Israel pessimistic about future of Amman talks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pessimistic Sunday about the future of direct talks with the Palestinians, dpa reported.
"The signs aren't particularly good," Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday.
He blamed the Palestinians, charging that, "until this moment," they had "refused to even discuss Israel's security needs."
Israeli and Palestinian envoys concluded three weeks of "exploratory" talks last week, meeting five times in Amman under the auspices of Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and representatives of the Quartet of Middle East mediators from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.
The Quartet had hoped the talks would move on to actual negotiations, but Palestinian officials have warned they will not continue unless Israel freezes settlement activity, or recognizes the lines set before the 1967 war as the basis for the talks.
"But I hope they will come around and continue with the talks so that we can move on to real negotiations," Netanyahu said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday blamed Israel for the failure to achieve a breakthrough in the Amman talks.
Israel's "intransigence" and refusal to present clear proposals on the issues of borders and security, as requested by the Quartet, created a setback to the peace talks, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency quoted him as telling Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore in Ramallah.
Abbas also told a Japanese official he was ready to resume negotiations with Israel once it recognized the 1967 borders of the Palestinian state and stopped all settlement activities in the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, Wafa said.
The Palestinian leader is scheduled to consult the Arab League on February 4, before making a final decision whether to break off the talks.