In a further blow to peace in the Middle East, Israel’s foreign minister has ruled out a comprehensive agreement with Palestinians as “impossible” and “forbidden.”
“It’s not only that it is impossible” to reach an overall agreement, the Associated Press quoted Avigdor Lieberman as saying on Sunday. “It is simply forbidden,” he told a conference of Israeli diplomats.
Labeling the Palestinian Authority (PA) as illegitimate, Lieberman urged that instead of a full peace deal, Tel Aviv seek a long-term, interim agreement on security and economic matters.
The remarks by Israel’s hawkish foreign minister come nearly two months after US-brokered talks between Tel Aviv and the PA broke down three weeks after they were launched in Washington.
The direct negotiations, strongly opposed by the Palestinian public and major resistance groups, hit a dead-end when Israel refused to heed repeated international calls to extend a partial settlement freeze after it expired on September 26.
Palestinians have long demanded a halt to the construction of Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), as a pre-condition to any negotiations.
They argue that otherwise a two-state solution would be unfeasible.