MIDDLE EAST NEWS NOVEMBER 10, 2009
Netanyahu Offers No Advance in Peace Talks
Israeli Leader Promises Concessions but Resists White House Pressure to Detail Any in Speech; Palestinians Are Unimpressed
By JAY SOLOMON
WASHINGTON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called for an “immediate” resumption of Middle East peace talks, but Palestinian and Arab leaders responded coolly to the speech, which had been seen by the White House as an opportunity for new concessions by Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jewish Federations of North America in Washington.
Mr. Netanyahu’s address here, delivered hours ahead of a meeting with President Barack Obama, came as concerns mounted in Washington and Arab capitals that the Obama administration’s plan to promote Mideast peace was unraveling.
“I want to be clear: My goal is not to have endless negotiations. My goal is not negotiations for negotiations sake. My goal is to reach a peace treaty, and soon,” Mr. Netanyahu told a gathering in Washington of the Jewish Federations of North America. “I want to assure you, Israel is willing to make great concessions for peace.”
The Israeli leader appealed to his Palestinian counterpart: “So I say today to the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas: Let us seize the moment to reach an historic agreement. Let us begin talks immediately.”