Labor party chief Shelly Yachimovich met Friday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem and expressed her support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts in renewing negotiations with the Palestinians.
Yachimovich told Ban that as Knesset opposition leader she will provide the prime minister with support as long as peace talks progress and bear fruit.
“Though the opposition’s function is to offer alternatives and to lodge criticism, at a time like this we have a leadership role to inspire hope and to back efforts to reach an agreement,” she said.
Speaking with apparent reference to the recently published EU guidelines that explicitly ban the funding of and cooperation with Israeli institutions operating in territories beyond pre-1967 lines, Yachimovich added, “It would be proper for the international community to take a positive attitude during negotiations, and to encourage the parties, and not to take steps that include sanctions against Israel.”
Earlier Friday, Ban met with Netanyahu, who said at a joint press conference that it is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state which is the core issue keeping the sides from reaching a peace agreement, not settlement construction.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were renewed earlier this month under the brokerage of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Earlier this week, Israel released 26 pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners as part of a goodwill gesture to kickstart negotiations. Almost all of the prisoners released were directly involved in the killing of Israelis.