Jerusalem: India's support for the Palestinians at the UN is a "mistake", a senior Israeli minister has claimed, saying he intends to "persuade" New Delhi to change its stand.
Touching upon a wide range of fields of cooperation between India and Israel, Minister for Energy and Water Resources Uzi Landau also acknowledged differences between the two countries on the issue.
"Let me use this opportunity to also express my concern. I think it is a mistake and I believe one of my challenges will be also to persuade our colleagues in India to believe that this is actually distancing us more from peace than what we think we could have been at," said Landau, who represents ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beteinu party in the government.
"If we were to have governments in the Palestinian Authority (PA) with leaders such as Sadat of Egypt, we would have reached peace and things would have been different. But opposed to this situation Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has signed a series of agreements with us but when it comes to the fulfillment of these agreements, he backs off," he said.
Arguing that the Palestinian Authority's recent UN bid for recognition is in flagrant violation of agreements between the two sides, he said the acceptance of the same by member states would make peace making even more complicated.
"If this is accepted then what incentive will anyone in this region have to sign agreements with us if they know that when it comes to the minute of compromise they can simply just go to the United Nations," Landau asserted.
"It must be clear to everyone that peace will be reached here following a compromise, negotiations, where each of the sides will have its own part of the deal," he emphasised.
When asked about New Delhi's assertion that Israel's settlement activities are a stumbling block in peace making, Landau said that it is an excuse Palestinians have found to avoid negotiations.
"For all those decades we have had with them so many agreements and the settlements were never a problem. Never a problem," he stressed.
"It is something new the Palestinians have found in order to evade the need to negotiate. This is in order to try and find an excuse not to re-negotiate peace," he said.
Accusing Palestinians of racism, the Yisrael Beteinu leader questioned why Jews cannot live in a future Palestinian state when Israel has given full rights to all its minorities.
"This is racism on the part of the Palestinians and on the part of those who really do not want peace. Settlements are not the real issue", he again emphasised.