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Netanyahu: Peace with Palestinians achieved only through negotiations

(Xinhua)

15:29, September 17, 2011

JERUSALEM, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in response to the speech of Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"Peace is not achieved by taking unilateral steps at the United Nations and not by linking up with the Hamas terror organization," Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office, "Peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations with Israel."

"The leadership of the Palestinian authority has consistently evaded peace negotiations with Israel," the statement said, "When the Palestinian authority abandon these futile and unilateral measures at the UN, it will find Israel to be a genuine partner for direct peace negotiations."

Abbas said Friday that he intended to submit a request to the United Nations Security Council for a full membership of a Palestinian state in the world body.

"We will go to the Security Council for full membership of a state on the 1967 territories, then peace talks (with Israel) on the permanent status issue will be resumed," Abbas said in a speech aired on the official Palestine TV.

Abbas' speech is meant to outline the case for the Palestinian campaign for a full UN membership.

The direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel have been stalled since October 2010 after Israel refused to halt the settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In response, the Palestinians decided to go to the United Nations and request an international recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

The United States and Israel vehemently oppose the Palestinian campaign. Washington has already threatened to veto the Palestinian application for a UN membership at the Security Council. Some U.S. lawmakers warned to cut off the huge U.S. annual aid to the PNA.

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