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Netanyahu: No Guarantee Talks With Palestinians Will Succeed

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says there is no guarantee the U.S.-mediated talks that resumed with the Palestinians last week will succeed.

The words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were the latest indication of the low hopes that negotiators are placing on the direct talks that kicked off in Washington on September 2.

Mr. Netanyahu spoke to Israelis in a Jewish New Year's address.

The Israeli leader said the talks are a sincere attempt at reaching a peace agreement. But he said there are many obstacles and many reasons for doubt. Mr. Netanyahu said there is a necessity for peace and he is trying sincerely, but not naively.

Israel entered the negotiations demanding any future Palestinian state be demilitarized. It also wants to maintain a presence along the West Bank's border with Jordan in order to protect Israel from attacks by Arab militants.

In his remarks, the Israeli leader said any agreement will have to be based on the Jewish state's security needs.

He said no peace arrangement can survive unless it is anchored on real security arrangements. Not provisions on paper, he said, but on on-the-ground security arrangements carried out by Israelis. He said Israel also wants the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. He said that since Israel is being asked to recognize a Palestinian state, it is, in his words, proper and natural that the other side recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Palestinians have in the past rejected calls to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. They believe that by doing so, they would relinquish the rights of millions of Arabs who live inside Israel and hold Israeli citizenship.

A key issue in the negotiations is that of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians have threatened to quit negotiations if Israel continues building inside the settlements.

Israel's self-imposed 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction expires on September 26, and there are no indications of plans to extend it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he has asked the United States to intervene in the settlements dispute.