An Israeli Minister has linked the Israeli government's negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to the international community's endeavours to halt Iran's nuclear programme. Israel's Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Dan Meridor, expressed his belief that successful negotiations depend on the results of the international community's efforts to curb the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian government.
Speaking at an economic conference in Tel Aviv, Mr. Meridor said that failure to stop Iran's nuclear programme would boost the country's standing across the Arab and Islamic world. That, he believes, would weaken Israel's position and have a "negative influence" on the Middle East peace process. Nevertheless, the Minister stressed that a successful resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians should work on two levels: one set of negotiations for a permanent solution to the issue, another for improvements in the daily lives of the Palestinians.
Earlier, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak called the absence of a two-state solution and his country's failure to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians is a more serious threat to the future of Israel than Iran. During a lecture last Tuesday at Bar Ilan University's Israeli Management Centre, Mr. Barak said, "The demarcation between an eternal Israeli state with a Jewish majority, and a Palestinian State expressing the desire of the Palestinian people, is in the Israeli interest."