Netanyahu Calls, Literally, for Peace Talks with Palestinians

Netanyahu. Photo Courtesy of UN-Photo/Marco Castro

Netanyahu. Photo Courtesy of UN-Photo/Marco Castro

Sometimes a phone call is all it takes. But in the case of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, that wasn’t enough to get negotiations restarted. Sunday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to greet him for the start of the Muslim Ramadan holiday, taking the time to literally call for the renewal of talks with the Palestinian.

“I hope that we will have an opportunity to speak to each other and not just on holidays, and that we begin negotiations. This is important,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as telling Abbas. Disappointedly, any response from Abbas was not reported by the official English Palestinian news agency or the unofficial Ma’an news group.

The discussion came as US Secretary of State John Kerry has been working to get peace talks between the sides restarted for the first time since late-2010. Netanyahu told Abbas he hopes Kerry’s efforts “have results.”

This matters to you, because peace in the region is believed to improve efforts to isolate extremists, such as Iran and al-Qaeda, and therefore curb terrorism. It also helps oil markets when the region is more stable, making gas cost less at the pump.

On the other hand, a flawed peace deal that puts Israel’s security at risk—such as a full Israeli withdraw from key areas—could spark renewed terrorism and conflict in the region and make the situation even worse.

However, the Palestinians pulled the plug on talks in 2010 and have refused to restart them without Israel making significant concessions ahead of talks. Israel wants peace talks to begin without preconditions.

Based on the deafening silence in the reported response by Abbas, it doesn’t look like the Palestinians are feeling open to mutual compromise.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, July 15, 2013)

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