Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told David Cameron that he is ready to return to peace talks with the Palestinians without pre-conditions, during their meeting at 10 Downing Street yesterday.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were suspended in April 2014 after PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced a unity government with Hamas. However, Netanyahu commented yesterday, “I want to say here in 10 Downing Street, and reaffirm again, that I am ready to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians with no conditions whatsoever … and I’m willing to do so immediately.”
It was a message which he repeated later in the day during a meeting with 120 MPs and House of Lords members. Netanyahu told them that he is “willing right now, without any preconditions, any preconditions whatsoever, to sit down with President Abbas and negotiate this peace.” He added, “I’m willing to go to Ramallah … Or President Abbas can come to Jerusalem … Anytime, anywhere, now.” Netanyahu emphasised “the notion that the people of Israel, or that I, prefer conflict to peace, or that we are not ready to take the steps for peace, are absurd.” The solution, he said is “a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state, the nation state of the Jewish people.”
During his meeting with Cameron, Netanyahu also underscored the regional threat posed by “the twin forces of militant Islam: the militant Sunnis led by ISIS and the militant Shiites led by Iran.” He urged collaboration, saying, “I believe that we can cooperate in practical ways to roll back the tide of militant Islam both in the Middle East and in Africa altogether.”
Addressing the strong UK-Israeli bilateral relationship, Netanyahu highlighted cyber security as a potential area for further growth. He said, “Britain and Israel are two great centres of technology. Israel is a global hub of innovation, especially in cyber security. And I think that if we pull our resources together we can offer a better future and great prosperity.”