Israel seeks direct negotiations to end the conflict, but the Palestinians prefer to force a resolution through international pressure.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stated that the Palestinians seek to end the conflict with Israel, but only under their terms and through the exertion of international pressure on Israel, which may be led by the Obama administration.
Speaking to the Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth in an interview published Sunday, Hamdallah claimed that the Palestinians were willing to “work with any government that is elected in Israel,” but he set preconditions that have been repeatedly rejected by the Jewish state. He demanded that Israel announce its withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem to the pre-1967 borders by 2017 before resuming negotiations.
Speaking in Jerusalem on Sunday during a press conference with German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel seeks peace and that a resolution can be achieved only through direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Hamdallah, when asked if he had given up on direct negotiations, responded by saying that the Palestinians were planning to negotiate through the UN, EU and US, adding that previous direct talks “were a failure.”
Will Obama Pressure Israel?
Hamdallah is seeking heavy international intervention and pressure on Israel. He first stated that nothing can be “imposed from the outside” on Israel, but then demanded that the superpowers coax Israel into accepting a resolution according to Palestinian terms.
Such pressure could be generated by President Barack Obama, Hamdallah suggested. “We have had certain assurances from the United States that after the Iranian deal [nuclear agreement], they will resume negotiations between us and the Israelis. We count on the States and are sure they will deliver,” he said, although he did not elaborate on that point.
The French have launched their own initiative to jumpstart the diplomatic process and to force a resolution on Israel through the UN Security Council. According to Hamdallah, that the Palestinians “hear” there is coordination between the French and the US on this issue.
When asked about Israeli security concerns, such as the fear that the PA could become another threat to Israel, such as Hamas-ruled Gaza or Lebanon, which is controlled by Hezbollah, Hamdallah evaded the question. “I’m sure we can live in paradise here — both of us,” he said. “I myself personally look for a bright future for Israeli children and our children. We don’t like to be at war with our neighbors. This is my message to the Israeli readers. We want to reach a historic, peaceful and everlasting settlement and are willing to give all our security assurances provided we get our rights and an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.”