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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, Warns Against Palestinian State - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: No Negotiations with He Who Embraces Hamas - Egypt to Host Another Fatah-Hamas Meeting

Source: Israel Today

Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Saturday stated that it was no longer seen as being in Israel's interest to allow the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian Arab state.

Speaking at a pre-election event in the Tel Aviv area, Ya'alon said all the evidence of the past decade of failed peace-making pointed to the fact that an independent Palestinian state would become a platform for further hostility against Israel, just as happened in Gaza.

Ya'alon warned that those holding aloft Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as a genuine peace partner are making a mistake.

"There are those who are trying to market Abbas as relatively moderate, but his goals are the same as those of Hamas. He does not believe in an agreement based on pre-1967 lines and he is refusing to come to the negotiating table," said the Likud candidate and former IDF chief.

Israeli expert Dr. Guy Bachor issued a statement in the Israeli press largely echoing Ya'alon's warnings.

Bachor explained that despite signing a peace agreement that would ostensibly bring a final conclusion to the conflict, a new Palestinian state would immediately open its doors to hundreds of thousands of Arabs claiming "Palestinian" descent and thereby create a demographic problem of epic proportions for Israel.

"The amazing thing is that there are those who actually use the demographic argument to justify a Palestinian state, while if that happens, demographic realities will become unbearable for every Israeli," wrote Bachor.

Ya'alon's boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has again stated publicly that his official policy is to work for a peace deal that culminates in the creation of a Palestinian Arab state, but many in his party now oppose that goal.

Rather, many like Ya'alon are more receptive of the platform of Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, who is advocating autonomy, but not sovereignty, for the Palestinian Arabs.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: 
No Negotiations with He Who Embraces Hamas

Source: Arutz Sheva
By Elad Benari

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said he does not believe that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is serious about reaching a peace agreement with Israel.

"In the reality of the Middle East, any areas we will pull out of will be taken over by Iran," Netanyahu told Channel 2 News in a special interview. "The stronger we are, we will be able to secure our future and make peace with our neighbors. I'll make peace if I am talking with someone who does not embrace Hamas and does not give credit to people who showered rockets on the State of Israel," he added, in criticism of Abbas's reconciliation meeting last week with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, after the latter said that Israel should be wiped off the map.

He added, "If Abbas comes to the negotiating table without preconditions, he will find me on the other side of the table."

Since 2009 Abbas has refused to come to the negotiating table with Israel and has continuously tried to impose preconditions on talks.

One of his longstanding demands is that Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as final borders. He has also demanded that Israel release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin. At the same time, he has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

During Monday night's interview, Netanyahu also once again dismissed accusations by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Netanyahu had wasted 11 billion shekels on preparations for a strike on Iran that never materialized.

"Not one shekel was spent in vain. We invested in the security of Israel," Netanyahu said.

He added, "In addition to this, we created offensive capabilities for the IDF that were also reflected in Operation Pillar of Defense, as well as in other arenas, and in the ability of Israel to defend itself against those who come to destroy us. I think these abilities are essential."

Asked whether he intends to raise taxes after the elections, in the wake of reports Sunday that Israel's budget deficit was double than what had been expected, Netanyahu replied, "I do not see the need to do this because we took these things into account. Perhaps the markets will recover and exports will grow. The deficit was much larger in 2009 so we took out a lot of expenses. That did not stop us from providing free education from age three, free dental care and raising the minimum wage."

At the same, Netanyahu refused to explicitly say that he would not raise taxes.

"We will increase the budget, contrary to what people think," he said. "You need to think about what you raise more and what less. In order to build the economy, we added jobs so that the rate of unemployment in Israel today is among the lowest in the West. I do not want to raise taxes, it's not my natural inclination, and I will do everything I can to avoid it. We'll make both cuts and increases."

Egypt to Host Another Fatah-Hamas Meeting

Source: Arutz Sheva
By Elad Benari

Egypt is set to host another meeting between Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction and its rival Hamas, the Egyptian Al-Ahram daily reported on Monday.

According to the report, an official from Fatah announced that the meeting would be held on Wednesday in Cairo.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah's central committee, said the Cairo meeting would discuss the possible resumption of reconciliation efforts from the same point at which they stalled last July.

Al-Ahmed also stated that, as soon as an understanding was reached on the resumption of work of the Palestinian Central Electoral Committee, consultations would begin on the formation of a coalition government under Abbas.

He also asserted that reconciliation talks would include several parallel committees concerned with issues such as "public freedoms" and "community reconciliation."

The upcoming reconciliation meeting was announced after last Wednesday's get-together in Cairo between Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas's political bureau. 

According to London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Fatah has demanded that Hamas dissolve its armed wings and recognize the PA's official security forces as the only armed force. The demand, however, was strenuously rejected by Hamas, according to the newspaper.

The revival of talks between Hamas, which took over Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007, and Fatah comes within the context of an Egyptian-sponsored unity agreement reached in April of last year. The main terms of the deal, however, have yet to be implemented due to ongoing differences over who should head up the proposed coalition government.

The sides have been getting closer since Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. During the counterterrorism operation, the two factions announced they have decided to end infighting. The Palestinian Authority later announced it will release Hamas-affiliated detainees as a goodwill gesture to boost reconciliation efforts.

Two weeks ago, for the first time since its violent takeover of Gaza, Hamas allowed the Gaza branch of Fatah party to mark its anniversary in the region.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized last week's meeting in Cairo, saying it was proof that the PA leader does not want a peace agreement with Israel.

"Abu Mazen gives a hug to the head of the terrorist organization who announced only a month ago that Israel should be wiped off the map," Netanyahu said in a statement, referring to comments made by Mashaal during a recent visit to Gaza.

"A leader who desires peace does not behave this way," Netanyahu said of Abbas.

Netanyahu repeated those comments in a television interview on Monday, saying, "I'll make peace if I am talking with someone who does not embrace Hamas and does not give credit to people who showered rockets on the State of Israel."

He added, "If Abbas comes to the negotiating table without preconditions, he will find me on the other side of the table."

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