Ne­tanyahu can­cels cabi­net meet­ing be­fore di­rect talks be­gin

The Pak Banker - - International -

JERUSALUM: Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu on Mon­day can­celed a sched­uled meet­ing of the most se­nior cabi­net min­is­ters, meant to be the last such meet­ing be­fore Ne­tanyahu heads for Washington for the re­sump­tion of U.S-me­di­ated peace talks with the Pales­tini­ans.

PM Ne­tanyahu ad­dresses cabi­net meet­ing

The meet­ing be­tween of Ne­tanyahu's in­ner cabi­net, known as the 'Fo­rum of Seven,' was sched­uled to take place at 9:30 A.M., and was re­port­edly called off by the PM early Mon­day morn­ing. The rea­son for the can­cel­la­tion is un­known.

Ne­tanyahu aide and Is­rael's chief negotiator Yitzhak Mol­cho was due to de­part for the United States later Mon­day in or­der to hold prepara­tory talks ahead of Wed­nes­day's tri­lat­eral sum­mit be­tween U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, Ne­tanyahu, and PA Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas.

Mol­cho is sched­uled to meet U.S. Mideast en­voy Ge­orge Mitchell in or­der to co­or­di­nate the sum­mit's clos­ing re­marks, as well as dis­cuss the planned speeches by Ne­tanyahu, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, and the Pales­tinian pres­i­dent at the open­ing cer­e­mony.

On Sun­day, Ne­tanyahu re­port­edly told Likud min­is­ters that he had not made any prom­ises to pres­i­dent Obama or any other Amer­i­can govern­ment of­fi­cial re­gard­ing an ex­ten­sion of the set­tle­ment con­struc­tion freeze in the West Bank.

"We made no pro­pos­als to the Amer­i­cans on ex­tend­ing the freeze," Ne­tanyahu said. "We said that the fu­ture of the com­mu­ni­ties will be dis­cussed as one of the el­e­ments of a fi­nal-sta­tus set­tle­ment, along with the other is­sues. We promised noth­ing on this is­sue to the Amer­i­cans."

Ne­tanyahu sharply crit­i­cized the Pales­tinian de­mand for ex­tend­ing Is­rael's 10-month con­struc­tion freeze, which ex­pires Septem­ber 26.

"They are build­ing an en­tire city with our en­cour­age­ment and then they are fight­ing with us over ev­ery house in Judea and Sa­maria," said Ne­tanyahu.

"The hia­tus of con­struc­tion prior to the cabi­net res­o­lu­tion [ap­prov­ing the freeze] lasted 10 months, dur­ing which we called them for talks.

Now, three weeks be­fore the end of that time, they come to the talks and say that we must con­tinue the build­ing freeze.

This raises ques­tions about the se­ri­ous­ness of the Pales­tini­ans to en­ter talks in good faith.

They are build­ing an en­tire city and they fight with us over ev­ery home." -PB News

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