Israel is 'not ready' for peace: Palestinian official

AFP , Tuesday 6 Jun 2017

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's office on Tuesday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pledge to keep permanent security control over the West Bank, saying Israel was "not ready" for peace.

It 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, when it occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

At the end of the war on Egypt, Jordan and Syria Israel was left in control of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem, part of the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

The Golan and east Jerusalem were subsequently annexed but the moves were never recognised by the international community.

Fifty years later the West Bank remains occupied and the Gaza Strip is under a tight Israeli blockade.

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

"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 said in a statement: "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.


* This story has been edited by Ahram Online

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