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Israel’s UN Envoy Danon: Only Direct Negotiations Will Bring Peace

TEL AVIV – Peace will come when the world and the Palestinians realize that direct negotiations are the only way forward, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations contended in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times.

Amid speculation that there will be one more push for negotiations before both President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon leave office in the coming months, UN envoy Danny Danon snubbed all current proposals, including an international peace summit and a UN Security Council resolution. Instead, writes Danon, modern history has taught us that peace will never come from without.

Danon refers to Israel’s peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt as proof of this, as they were the result of bilateral talks between these countries and Israel.

However, according to Danon, one of the main obstacles to peace is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to join his counterpart, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the negotiating table.

Netanyahu “has extended himself further than any previous Israeli leader in his pursuit of direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” writes Danon, citing a settlement freeze and the release of dozens of terrorists as proof of Netanyahu’s commitment to peace.

Nonetheless, writes Danon, Abbas refuses to put his money where his mouth is and resume talks, as promised during a recent interview on Israeli television.

Abbas, however, continually tosses out new preconditions to agreeing merely to talk. He has met face to face with Netanyahu for only six hours since 2009. While Abbas recently hinted in a TV interview that he would be willing to meet the prime minister, he has spent the intervening weeks pushing forward a Security Council resolution to condemn us and jetting around Europe to garner support for international initiatives. All the while, his Palestinian Authority continues to pay stipends to the family members of terrorists and to incite further violence against Israel on its official TV channels. These are not the actions of someone who is serious about peace.

The UN ambassador concludes, “Peace will come only when the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state as a legitimate partner for direct negotiations to resolve this conflict.”

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