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Israeli PM claims Iran nuclear hinders peace talks with Palestinians

English.news.cn   2013-12-09 01:12:16            

JERUSALEM, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said there's no chance of peace between Israel and the Palestinians if Iran will achieve a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu made the statement in a video message recorded and broadcast on Sunday evening in the Sabban Forum in Washington D.C. in the United States.

The Forum, hosted by former Israeli business mogul Haim Saban, has been gathered each year since 2004 and is a platform for an exchange of ideas between government officials, academics and journalists on current affairs.

"Peace efforts with the Palestinians will not succeed if Iran achieves a nuclear bomb," Netanyahu said, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

"A nuclear Iran would undermine the possibility of achieving peace," he said. He also stated that Iran must be "required to change its entire policy, not just its nuclear plan."

U.S. officials have in the past made the link between the peace talks with the Palestinians and the issue of nuclear Iran, from a different perspective. They encouraged Netanyahu to achieve peace with the Palestinians in order to strengthen Israel's stance and receive the U.S. support in the diplomatic discourse between Iran and the P5+1 countries.

Israel and the U.S. differ on the matter of how to approach Iran, whereas the U.S.pushed to reach an agreement. Netanyahu urged the international community not to ease sanctions until there are guarantees Iran is not furthering its nuclear program and called the interim agreement a "historic mistake."

"The view points of us and the United States could be different, but most of the time we see things eye to eye," Netanyahu said regarding the tense relations between the countries. "There are no two leaders who talk as much as Obama and I do," he added.

Regarding negotiations with the Palestinians, Netanyahu reiterated a claim he made before that the root of the conflict with the Palestinians does not stem from the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

"The conflict doesn't pertain to the issue of the borders or the settlements, but the Palestinians' refusal to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state within any border," he said.

However he did say that he is ready to make some "tough decisions" in order to achieve an interim agreement and that reaching an agreement is a strategic choice by him and his government.

Earlier on Sunday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that if there won't be any progress in the peace talks with the Palestinians, it would jeopardize the existence of the Israeli government.

"It's time to step it up," Lapid said at an economic conference held in Tel Aviv. "We've reached a stage in which the Israeli government needs to answer the question whether it is running the diplomatic process out of a genuine attempt to achieve peace."

Lapid implied to a possible withdrawal of the far right Jewish Home party, which objects to various aspects of the peace talks, and the entry of the Labor party, which just elected a new leader more inclined to join a right-wing government, saying that coalition changes are in order if an agreement is to be reached.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in July after a three-year halt.

According to various reports, the talks have deteriorated as Israel insists on security issues like the Israeli military's deployment in the Palestinian state across the Jordanian border and the space control over the West Bank.

The Palestinians on their part want to discuss the issues of sovereignty and boundaries and are dismayed over Israel's ongoing announcements of more housing units in the West Bank.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region last week and tried to boost both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make progress in the talks. Channel 1 news reported that Kerry also offered to extend the current 9-months framework allocated for the talks to ripe into an interim agreement.

Kerry expressed optimism and prior to his departure on Friday said the two sides are close to an agreement than they have been in years, but officials on both sides say the talks are still stuck and sounded less optimistic.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting the U.S., spoke in front of the forum and said that he doesn't believe a peace agreement would be available in the next couple of years.

Lieberman said he doesn't believe an arranagement can be reached between Israel and the Palestinians but added he supports the two states for two people plan.

Editor: yan
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