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Israel's left, right both mock Obama-Netanyahu-Abbas summit as farce
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19:06, September 23, 2009

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's critics on the left and right criticized his tripartite summit on Tuesday in New York with U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

Obama on Tuesday urged Israel and the Palestinians to "move forward" in their negotiations.

"It is past time to talk about starting negotiations," Obama told reporters after separate meetings with Netanyahu and Abbas before their three-way summit, adding "It is time to move forward."

According to Ophir Paz-Pines, member of Knesset (parliament) from left-wing Labor party, the summit was "a shameful farce" that made a show of the stalemate in the peace process.

"Instead of taking advantage of a historic opportunity, they are dragging their feet," said Paz-Pines. "Netanyahu and (Labor chairman Ehud) Barak misled the public. It is unfortunate that Labor is a partner in this charade."

Michael Ben-Ari, MK from right-wing National Union party, accused Netanyahu of "humiliating Israel" by "dropping his head toward Obama in submission."

Netanyahu should have stood tall in Jewish pride instead of "acting like a scolded American clerk," said Ben-Ari.

Meanwhile, Israeli cabinet ministers directed their criticism at the Palestinians.

Abbas proved he is "not interested in peace," Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin said at a meeting of the Council For Peace and Security.

Israel's Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said on a visit to the settlers' protest tent near the Knesset that "The Palestinians must make a strategic decision to reach peace with Israel and not instead of Israel."

MK Danny Danon, who is currently in New York to lobby against freezing settlement construction, said that Obama failed to obtain any concessions from Arab countries, so Netanyahu must restart unlimited building in the West Bank.

"The summit proved that the peace process is not a Hollywood movie," Danon said, "Obama must understand that charisma is not enough to bring peace in the Middle East."

Source: Xinhua

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