Jerusalem, August 2 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ready to commence immediate peace talks with the Palestinians based on the 1967 lines, Israel’s Channel 2 Television reported on Monday night.
This is the latest attempt by Netanyahu to persuade the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
The Palestinians turned their backs on direct talks almost a year ago and since then have been moving towards the unilateral declaration of a state.
The United States, European Union and others say the Palestinian tactic is unhelpful. They say face-to-face parley is the best way to achieve a lasting peace between the Jewish state and a future Palestinian state.
The TV report suggested Netanyahu is ready to discuss an agreement based on the line that divides Israel from the West bank but with land swaps factored in to take account of demographic changes since 1967. Israel gained control of the West Bank from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War.
The international media was full of praise for Netanyahu on Tuesday. “Middle East peace process boost as Netanyahu 'ready to negotiate borders',” read the headline in The Daily Telegraph.
The Independent’s headline was “Netanyahu signals new Palestinian state talks.”
So far there has been no public sign that the Palestinians are ready to sit with their would-be Israeli interlocutors. Indeed, the Arab League is expected to give its final backing to the Palestinian unilateral plan when the organization in Qatar tomorrow.
The league is expected to support a proposal to ask both the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly to approve Palestinian statehood in September, Haaretz reported on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Gaza-based terrorists fired two rockets towards Israeli homes on Monday, injuring one woman. There have been more than 350 rockets and mortars this year. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from the territory it controls.