Germany: Egypt Unrest Not a Reason to Halt Peace Talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told audience at Tel Aviv University the situation between Israel and the Palestinians will get worse if nothing is done.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The situation in Egypt is not a reason to stop moving the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians forward, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

Merkel spoke at Tel Aviv University as part of her official trip to the country. In previous days, she has met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

She used her speech to send an urgent message about the need to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians

If we sit and wait, the situation will only get worse, the chancellor said, adding that the freeze in negotiations is unacceptable and doesn't serve either party, especially the Israelis.

Peace talks initiated by the United States grinded to a halt in September after a 10 month freeze on West Bank settlement building expired. Attempts to restart the talks have since failed, with the Palestinians insisting that they won't negotiate without a complete settlement freeze. Israel has meanwhile insisted that they are ready to continue negotiations, but they are waiting for the Palestinians to return to the table.

Merkel pointed out that there was progress made in negotiations during the time when former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in power. Since the elections ended his reign, Merkel said there has not been any progress.

In a meeting with Netanyahu on Monday, Merkel said that West Bank settlement building was hurting the peace process. Netanyahu responded that settlements are not an obstacle to peace, and that that it is up to the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking at a regional conference of the German Democratic Party, Oct. 6, 2010Credit: Reuters

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