Benjamin Netanyahu Nir Keidar 27.10.2010
Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo by Nir Keidar
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the Palestinians are responsible for the deadlock in peace talks, saying they have been evading negotiations while Israel is striving for peace.

Speaking at a conference of Foreign Ministry representatives, Netanyahu referred to the comments made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman this week, who said the Palestinian Authority is illegitimate and that Israel should not reach an agreement with them.

"The government, in my leadership, is striving to achieve peace. This is our target and objective – to reach an agreement in negotiations with the Palestinians," Netanyahu said Thursday. "Unfortunately, the Palestinians have thus far been evading negotiations."

On Sunday, Lieberman attacked the Palestinian Authority as well as Netanyahu's promises for peace, saying the Palestinians will never sign a peace deal with Israel and that Netanyahu was unrealistic in his attempts to achieve a peace agreement with the PA within a year.

"Even if we offer the Palestinians Tel Aviv and a retreat to 1947 borders, they will find a reason not to sign a peace agreement with us," Lieberman told Israeli diplomats at a conference on Sunday.

In response to Lieberman's comment, Netanyahu issued a statement Sunday saying that only the prime minister decides Israeli polices, and that every government minister is entitled to his own opinions.

On Monday, Netanyahu said in an interview with Channel 10 that talks with the Palestinians could result in an interim peace agreement.

"There could well be a situation that if we enter into talks with the Palestinians and we hit a wall on the issues of Jerusalem and refugees, the result would be an interim agreement," Netanyahu said. "That is certainly a possibility."