September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Tuesday that he sees "absolutely no point" in holding direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

In an interview with the Shas newsletter Day to Day, the party chairman said that "as long as there is no significant change on the Palestinian side, there should be no advancement in talks."

"I do not in any way believe that these talks should be held, point-blank," said Yishai. Another summit, another conference, another meeting, from the Madrid conference to the Sharm conference, and nothing has come out of this."

"Not just has nothing come of it, but the Palestinians are just getting more inflexible and more radical in their position, all just to torpedo any agreement and peace process," added the interior minister.

Yishai, who last March sparked tensions with the United States when he approved construction in East Jerusalem during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, reiterated his stance that the government should in no way extend its temporary settlement freeze.

"Not light-freeze and not whole-freeze," Yishai declared. "The Land of Israel needs to build and be built, period. From the get-go we were opposed to this freeze, and along the way we have discovered strong opposition to the freeze."

"We have realized that there is no point in not building since the Palestinians don't want peace, anyway. They are just biding time until the end of the freeze in order to show who is supposedly thwarting the talks, and in the end it will be clear just how right we were," said Yishai.

"With no disrespect to the Americans, we must tell them: Dear friends, our relationship is of utmost importance and we respect you very much, but unfortunately, we cannot accede to your demands," he concluded.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017