Israeli diplomat sends tough messages on U.S. pressure over peace process

08:24, April 22, 2010      

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Israeli Vice Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Wednesday that pressure could prevent the Middle East peace process instead of promoting it, apparently in a response to the U.S. administration which is eager to see the Israeli-Palestinian talks re-launched.

"Not only will pressure not support peace, it will prevent it. We desire peace -- but not at the cost of Israel's national interests," Ayalon told a commercial delegation.

"Peace is our goal, and if the means to achieving that goal is the creation of a Palestinian state, then that is what must be done -- not by an artificial schedule and enforced solution, but by building a platform of trust and confidence between the two sides," he added.

The comments came as the Israeli government is facing huge pressure from the United States which reportedly demands the Jewish State to do more good-willing gestures, including to halt the construction in Jewish communities in East Jerusalem for a certain period, to pave ways for the possible proximity talks with the Palestinians.

Ties between the two allies were strained when an Israeli regional building community approved a housing plan in East Jerusalem in March. The U.S. administration sharply condemned the Israeli decision, which put the proximity talks at the brink of breaking down.

Ayalon's comments are echoing the remarks made one day earlier by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. "Any attempt to force a solution on the parties without establishing a foundation of mutual trust will only deepen the conflict," said the hard-line minister.

There is a speculation in the media these days that the U.S. administration is considering presenting a conclusive Middle East peace plan, to push forward the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.



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