If Israeli officials needed proof that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not interested in peace, they found it in the remarks made Monday by the PA’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.
Malki, who accompanied PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Japan, was asked questions about the deadlock in the peace talks with Israel.
“We will never go back and sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” he replied.
Officials in the prime minister's entourage to Berlin, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in response that anyone who wants to resume the peace process should be aware of statements of this kind.
"We know that peace will be achieved through direct negotiations. It seems that the Palestinians know this as well so they do not want direct negotiations," the official said.
The comments come amid a renewed push by the West to resume talks between Israel and the PA.
The last round of peace talks between the sides stalled in 2014 when the PA breached the condition of the talks and unilaterally joined international institutions.
Since then, much pressure has been applied on Israel to resume talks, even though the PA has rejected them and Abbas has continuously imposed preconditions on the talks.
Just a few months ago, Abbas admitted that he rejected "out of hand" an Israeli offer for a PA state on nearly 95% of Judea and Samaria.