Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that upcoming direct peace talks with the Palestinians were unlikely to get anywhere within the one-year time frame set by Washington. "It's clear that the two sides are so different -- in content, in approach -- that it's hard to talk about a peace agreement within a year," Lieberman told Israeli public radio, adding that he saw no point in extending a settlement freeze due to expire next month.
"What have we been doing for the 17 years since Oslo?" Lieberman asked. "Suddenly we're going to reach a peace agreement within a year? I think that the more we can lower expectations the healthier it will be."
According to Lieberman, the Palestinian insistance that talks cannot proceed if Israel continues building in the occupied West bank and east Jerusalem were part of "difficult preconditions" likely to torpedo talks from the outset. "Anyone coming with an 'all or nothing' attitude will end up at the end of the day with nothing," he said.
Lieberman said the freeze was a major concession but that the Palestinians had failed to reciprocate. "There is no reason to continue to freeze settlement," he told the radio. "We've done enough and we got nothing in return."