Israeli FM Triggers Palestinian Walkout


Israel’s foreign minister prompts the Palestinian mission to walk out of a UN meeting by saying it could take decades for the two sides to reach a deal.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Avigdor Lieberman said “a long-term intermediate agreement…could take a few decades,” Israeli website Ynetnews reported.

The Palestinian delegates reacted to the comments by storming out of the session, dpa reported.

The United States pressure resulted in the renewal of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in early September. The negotiations had broken off at the turn of 2009, when Tel Aviv launched a war on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians.

Israel has already dealt a severe blow to the process by declining to renew a partial freeze it had imposed in November 2009 on its construction of illegal Jewish settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The UN, the European Union and some countries, including Turkey, have blasted Israel for the refusal.

Earlier in the month, the far-right foreign minister had said that Tel Aviv had to redraw what he referred to as “Israel’s borders” to transfer Palestinians out, while incorporating residents of illegal settlements in the West Bank.

“The guiding principle for a final status agreement must not be land-for-peace, but rather, exchange of populated territory,” he said on Tuesday.

“Let me be clear: I am not speaking about moving populations, but rather about moving borders to better reflect demographic realities,” Lieberman added.

The notion, he claimed, had been accepted as a “virtual truism” in the academic community, which had coined the term “re-sizing the state.”

HN/MMA/MGH. presstv

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