Israel needs to work with U.S. to reach peace: defense minister

08:12, April 19, 2010      

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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday Israel needs to work with the world, and mostly the United States, to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, local news service Ynet reported.

"It is vital to our national security and to set borders and put an end to the conflict," Barak was quoted as saying at a memorial day ceremony at Tel Aviv University, two days before Israel's annual Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day.

"In order to reach an agreement we need to work with the world, but mostly with the United States," the defense minister noted.

The United States has been a major player in pushing forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Last month, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell announced that Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to hold indirect peace talks, proposed and brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.

However, grave doubt was cast on the newly resumed peace negotiation one day after Mitchell's announcement, when the Jewish state approved a 1,600 housing unit development in East Jerusalem during the visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

The move of Israeli government was severely criticized by the United States and the rest of the world. The Obama administration has been demanding Israel to reverse the plan and make other goodwill gestures to push forward the peace talks.



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