Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has blamed the failure of the so-called peace talks with Israel on the regime’s lack of interest in reaching a deal with the Palestinian government.
"We have been trying for the last 23 years to negotiate directly with the Israelis within this bilateral approach and we have failed,” Maliki said in an interview with English-language RT satellite television news network in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Thursday.
“We have failed miserably because Israel is not interested in reaching a peace with the Palestinians or a conclusion with the Palestinians, and so after 23 years we have decided really to opt for the multilateral approach,” he added.
Maliki also expressed optimism over finding a solution about an independent Palestinian state.
"Yes, I do believe that there will be a solution… The Palestinians will get their own independent state… Israel will withdraw from the Palestinian occupied territories, and… we will reach an agreement. That agreement is going to be negotiated or imposed, that's really up to the Israelis to decide," the top Palestinian diplomat pointed out.
Maliki further criticized Israel for denying the existence of a blockade on the impoverished Gaza Strip, noting that Tel Aviv’s seizure of Gaza-bound aid ships proves that the siege actually exists.
“The objective is very clear. The Palestinians are saying and the international community also repeats that there is a blockade by Israel against Gaza, there is a siege. The Israelis are negating that,” the Palestinian foreign minister stated.
On Monday, Israel seized the Marianne of Gothenburg, the Swedish-flagged vessel that was part of the Freedom Flotilla III carrying nearly 20 pro-Palestinian activists from nine countries to Gaza.
The ship was then directed to the Israeli port of Ashdod, prompting the three other vessels to turn back over fears that the Israeli navy would use deadly force similar to what happened in 2010 to another Gaza-bound flotilla.
The Israeli regime has blockaded the Gaza Strip since June 2007, as a result of which the standards of living there have deteriorated remarkably. The siege has also led to unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty in the Palestinian coastal enclave.