Barak: Israel Should Accept Upcoming U.S. Peace Plan
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak says that Israel should accept a plan the United States is expected to release sometime within the next weeks, according to reports in the Israeli media.
(AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department said he "could not confirm the existence of such a plan." But the Web site for the Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that Barak told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee the U.S. plan will "be formulated and presented to the parties."
"I believe that Israel must take the lead in accepting the plan," Barak was quoted as saying.
The news comes amid reports of increasing friction between the two allies over conflicting disagreements about future steps. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far stiff-armed Washington's demand for a West Bank settlement freeze. The Palestinians have demanded that Israel halt its settlement activity in the West Bank before resuming negotiations. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were put on ice last December after Israel invaded the Gaza Strip.
Since then, U.S. Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, has conducted several meetings with Barak.
YNet News, which is affiliated with the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, quoted Barak saying that Israel was "committed to a regional deal, that we honor agreements signed by previous governments, and that Israel accepts and endorses the vision of two political entities co-existing in peace, security, and cooperation."
Barak reportedly also said that Israel would retain West Bank Jewish settlement blocs in any future agreement, while Palestinian refugees would remain outside Israel.
Popular on CBSNews.com
One year after Afghan massacre, villagers work with U.S. troops One year after U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians, the villagers in the town where the atrocity took place have joined the U.S. special forces stationed there to assist in the fight against the Taliban.
- Basement living in China 6 Photos
- 100,000 line streets of Brazil to protest corruption
- New Iran leader hints at "transparency" over nukes 133 Comments
- Montreal's mayor arrested on fraud charges
- Who's who at the 2013 G8 8 Photos
- U.K., Ecuador still at impasse over Assange asylum
- Afghans take security lead role from NATO coalition
- Unions strike, protest to support Turkey activists