Friday, 22 May 2009

‘Israel Ready for Talks; To Dismantle Outposts as Gesture to Obama’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have agreed on a plan to evacuate illegal outposts in the West Bank, mainly those located on Palestinian land, within weeks, Israeli Defense Ministry sources told Haaretz on Wednesday. The sources said Barak intends to dismantle a number of outposts out of 26 illegal ones. "It is up to him entirely, and on the time and circumstances he sees fit. Netanyahu won't make difficulties. They're in sync," a source said. Ministers, including those from Likud, said Wednesday that Netanyahu probably promised United States President Barack Obama in their meeting that Israel would dismantle outposts soon. In the meantime, police and civil administration forces evacuated a tiny outpost in the Binyamin region in the West Bank on Thursday morning. Seven tin huts and several youths residing in the area were removed from the Maoz Ester outpost. No violent incidents were recorded.
Barak told the Yesha settlers council Wednesday that Israel will dismantle the illegal outposts by force if dialogue proves fruitless. Evacuating illegal outposts in the West Bank is expected to be the Netanyahu government's first gesture toward Obama and the Palestinian Authority.
Thhis is part of the "price" Netanyahu paid Obama in exchange for the latter's statements about Iran's nuclearization, the sources said.

NETANYAHU SAYS READY FOR SYRIA TALKS WITHOUT PRECONDITIONS Meanwhile, Netanyahu said upon his return to Israel after a three-day trip to the United States that he told the US President that Israel is willing to immediately open talks with Syria and the Palestinians. “There was an agreement that we need to immediately begin the peace process, I said I am willing to open peace talks with the Palestinians, by the way with the Syrians as well, of course without preconditions, but I made it clear that in any peace agreement there must be a solution to Israel's special security needs.” Netanyahu also said both sides agreed on the need to extend the Middle East “peace process” to Arab countries. "Not only do the Israelis and Palestinians need to make concessions, but Arab states, too, have to give something concrete in return," said Netanyahu.

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