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Israeli envoy: Peace deal impossible under current Palestinian leadership

The Israeli ambassador to Russia says a breakthrough in the Middle East settlement is unlikely under the present Palestinian leadership
Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren  Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 29./TASS/. A breakthrough in the Middle East settlement is unlikely under the present Palestinian leadership, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren told TASS on Monday.

"We doubt that some breakthrough can be achieved under the current Palestinian leadership," the ambassador said.

One of the main obstacles to peace is that the Palestinians are not ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, the diplomat stressed. "We hope that the Palestinians will eventually understand that Israel was, is and will be a Jewish state with full respect for the Arab minority that is about 20%," he noted. "We are not putting it forward as a precondition, we are simply drawing attention to the Palestinian leadership’s stating that it will never be ready to recognize it," he went on to say.

"Let alone the Hamas [movement] which in general does not recognize our right to exist within any borders," he explained. The diplomat noted that the Palestinians currently reject any role by the US in the peace process, while "everybody in the global community, including Moscow, understand that this matter cannot be settled without Washington."

"The Palestinians have tried and are trying to engage Russia, China, the European Union, but they get no positive response to their ideas." "Everybody supports direct negotiations, while Palestinians once again seek to arrange a certain conference. But this conference will not be effective without Israeli, or without American participation," Koren said, reiterating that the international conference on the Middle East initiated by France last year, ‘failed’.

The latest direct negotiations between the parties in the Middle East conflict were suspended without seeing any result in April 2014, after nine months of futile attempts to bring the positions of Israelis and Palestinians closer. The previous attempt at the Israeli-Palestinian peace process failed in 2010.

Earlier, Palestinian presidential foreign affairs adviser Nabil Shaat told TASS that Palestine would push for an international conference to broker a peace to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Palestine is ready to resume direct talks with Israel on the conference platform, he added. Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal told TASS later that his government’s leadership was engaged in talks with Russia, China and some EU countries on convening such a conference.