Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has warned against negotiating the borders of a promised Palestinian state, calling it a "historic mistake."
"It would be a dramatic mistake — a historic mistake and strategic mistake — to talk about borders before we complete the security discussions," AFP quoted Lieberman as telling Israel’s army radio on Monday.
Lieberman’s opposition comes as the US has been stepping up efforts to get back on track the direct talks between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, derailed by Tel Aviv’s insistence to push ahead with its settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinians walked out of the US-sponsored negotiations after Israel refused to renew a partial moratorium — that effectively allowed for construction across the West Bank, especially in the illegally annexed city of al-Quds (Jerusalem) — after its expiry on September 26.
One of the proposals on the table to break the impasse is determining the borders of a future Palestinian state, which would thereby establish the areas in which Israel could continue building.
The Palestinians demand that their future state must cover all of the West Bank and East al-Quds, areas occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Sunday with US Vice President Joe Biden in New Orleans and is due to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday in New York.
In early October, Arab League foreign ministers gave Washington a month’s grace period to break the impasse, but last week extended it until the end of the month.