- 06 ноября 2013, 18:18
Israeli PM accuses Palestinians of creating artificial crises, as US secretary of state John Kerry shuttles between two sides
The Israeli prime minister has acknowledged a lack of progress in peace negotiations over the past four months, and accused the Palestinians of creating artificial crises and running away from tough decisions.
As the US secretary of state, John Kerry, shuttled between the two sides on Wednesday in an attempt to keep the faltering talks moving, Binyamin Netanyahu said: "I am concerned about their progress because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitements, continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to avoid [and] run away [from] strong decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace."
The atmosphere surrounding the negotiations has deteriorated over the past week, prompting speculation that Kerry is preparing to table a proposal or guidelines to break the logjam. According to leaks, a session held in Jerusalem on Tuesday ended in shouting.
The Palestinians are furious about Israel's recent announcement of more than 1,800 new homes in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They and their allies believe that despite Netanyahu's protestations of willingness to make peace, he is dragging his feet in talks in order to drive settlement expansion forward.
Kerry met Netanyahu in Jerusalem for three hours on Wednesday before travelling to Bethlehem to meet the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. He was expected to return to Jerusalem for dinner with Netanyahu, and possibly meet Abbas again on Thursday.
Kerry expressed optimism that the difficulties could be overcome. "I am very confident of our ability to work through them," he said. "This can be achieved with good faith and a serious effort on both sides." He urged Netanyahu and Abbas to make "real compromises and hard decisions".
The goal of reaching a peace deal within nine months, which ends in the spring, appears in jeopardy. The deadlock has raised speculation that the US may need to step up its involvement and present its own blueprint for peace early next year, or perhaps lower expectations and pursue a limited, interim agreement.
Kerry and his aides have refused to discuss such an option, insisting instead that the goal of the talks remains a comprehensive peace pact. "We need the space to negotiate privately, secretly, quietly and we will continue to do that," Kerry said. "We have six months ahead of us on the timetable we have set for ourselves and I am confident we have the ability to make progress."