Israeli Vice Premier and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon on Wednesday insisted that Israel will be approaching renewed US-hosted peace negotiations from the position that it will no longer trade land for terrorism.
Speaking at a memorial ceremony for a slain soldier in a Jewish community in Samaria, Yaalon said that contrary to what the international community says, "It’s not because of the settlements in Judea and Samaria that there is no peace, but rather because of the Arab refusal from the dawn of Zionism – and this is true of Fatah and Hamas – to recognize the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people."
Yaalon said the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains ready to immediate restart direct peace talks with the Palestinians without preconditions, but that unlike in the past, those talks must give equal weight to Israeli demands and concerns.
Since taking office, Netanyahu has insisted that the Palestinians finally honor their commitment to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly balked at the demand, while eliciting no public reaction from Washington.