Jerusalem, 20 August 2000

PM Barak: We have yet to hear from Palestinians about openness and willingness to discuss ideas raised at Camp David, especially regarding Jerusalem
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, today (Sunday), 20.8.2000, at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting commented on the negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria as follows:

"Regarding the negotiations with the Palestinians, we are in a waiting period since we have yet to hear from them about an openness and willingness to discuss the ideas which were raised at Camp David, especially those regarding Jerusalem. The limited amount of time is well-known and in the coming weeks we will know whether Arafat is set on an agreement or an impasse. We are genuinely interested in an agreement and, in our opinion, the other side must be similarly interested since the alternative for both sides is very problematical.

The door is also open regarding the Syrian track and if Damascus is willing to seriously discuss the issues between us, they will be received with openness on our part, but nothing will be done that could be seen as manipulation vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

I assume that the meeting of world leaders at the UN next month will be an appropriate opportunity to reap the fruit of the diplomatic efforts which have been made in recent weeks. Explaining our positions, as they were presented at Camp David, has strengthened Israel’s position in the international arena and the reaction that Arafat has met with on his travels, which underscored the international community’s reservations over unilateral measures, reflects our positions at this time."