"Interim agreement with the Palestinians is possible": Netanyahu

10:07, December 29, 2010      

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by Gur Salomon

An official from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Tuesday declined to comment on whether Netanyahu has de facto decided to adopt his foreign minister's plan, a long-range interim agreement with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), as a viable solution to reigniting the stalled peace process.

In an interview he gave Israeli TV Channel 10 late Monday, Netanyahu said there "can be a situation, and we've discussed this in the septet (the forum of senior ministers) in the past year, that if we get into this discussion (talks with the Palestinians) we will likely hit a wall named Jerusalem, perhaps a wall named refugees."

"It could be that the result would be an interim agreement. It' s possible. I do not rule this out, including in the talks that we have held," he added.

Netanyahu has stated in the past year that he is in favor of a permanent settlement to be reached within a year, in accordance with the U.S. administration's demand prior to the launching of the direct talks between Israel and the PNA early September.

But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, Netanyahu's main coalition partner, is pushing his own plan, which calls for a long-range interim agreement with the PNA, and is reportedly attempting to have it discussed in the Cabinet.

With Lieberman's influence in the government steadily increasing, Netanyahu told Channel 10 that while the former's plan is possible, Israel should refrain from publicly declaring it as its preferred solution to the stalemated talks.

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