Netanyahu - Emil Salman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo by Emil Salman
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at the Labor ministers at Sunday's cabinet meeting, saying that the Palestinians were refusing to return to negotiations with Israel because of Labor's threats to leave the coalition.

The statement came following a presentation by Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog on a national plan for at-risk children. Herzog's fellow laborite minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer praised the plan and added, "it's a pity that there are no such achievements in the diplomatic realm."

Netanyahu then burst out at Ben-Eliezer: "It's because of statements like that of yours [the Labor ministers] that the Palestinians aren't returning to the talks."

Netanyahu also said the Palestinians were hardening their positions because of remarks by Labor ministers.

Although Netanyahu is said to be concerned by increasing demands within the Labor Party to leave the government, he refused a request by the Labor Party chairman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, to report on his talks on renewing negotiations. "My job is to get results, not to report," he reportedly told Barak.

Netanyahu's special envoy Isaac Molho met in Washington over the weekend with U.S. Envoy George Mitchell and President Barack Obama's senior adviser Dennis Ross.

Meanwhile, senior U.S. officials met with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. However, this apparently produced no results.