Jerusalem, 3 November 1996

PM NETANYAHU: ANY DELAY IN NEGOTIATIONS BY PALESTINIANS IS LIABLE TO INCREASE CHANCE OF TERRORIST ATTACK

(Communicated by Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Sunday, 3.11.96, with British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind. During their meeting, the issue of the Hebron negotiations arose.

The prime minister noted that, regrettably, the Palestinians are delaying the completion of negotiations and added that: "Every delay by the Palestinians in the talks is liable to lead to increased tension in the region and create an atmosphere that will increase the chances of a terrorist attack. Delays of this type also gives outside factors more time to attempt to derail the Hebron redeployment."

In response to Foreign Secretary Rifkind’s request to hear Israel’s position on various political issues, the prime minister reviewed the status of the negotiations with the Palestinians and emphasized Israel’s desire for peace and its commitment to honoring the agreements which were signed with the Palestinians and other Arab states.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he also expects the other side to honor its commitments, especially to fight terrorism with greater vigor.

Mr. Rifkind spoke about the economic conditions in Gaza and the prime minister agreed with him about the need to improve them, but added that the closure imposed on Judea and Samaria was solely for security reasons.