Israel: This is our last gesture to Palestinians

Friday, December 18, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday said Israel is getting fed up with making peace gestures to the Palestinians, only to be slapped in the face, and that the current 10-month settlement freeze will be the last gesture offered by Israel.

"Now the time for Israeli gestures has ended. The Palestinians can decide whether they want to come to the negotiations table or not," Lieberman told students at Ariel University Center. "The ball is in the Palestinian court."

Lieberman reminded those listening that the temporary settlement freeze is not the first gesture implemented since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in March. Netanyahu also complied with Palestinian demands that he accept the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state as the outcome of peace talks, and has removed numerous military checkpoints in the so-called "West Bank."

But instead of responding in kind, or at least returning to the negotiating table, the Palestinians have rejected each Israeli gesture and "moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly threatened to step down over what he calls phony Israeli offers.

"We cannot tolerate a situation in which (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) keeps threatening to resign and shouting 'support me,'" said Lieberman.

If the Palestinians do not take the current gesture seriously, Lieberman said it will be Israel's last and it will be fully reversed. "Let be clear – in 10 months construction in the Judea and Samaria will resume in an open and transparent manner."

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