Palestinian protesters throw shoes at Ban Ki-moon

Feb. 2, 2012 at 5:54 PM
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JERUSALEM, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other international leaders that Israel wants ongoing peace talks.

Netanyahu's office said he had a 45-minute conversation with Clinton on Wednesday and urged her to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to resume talks, Haaretz reported. He also spoke to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is now a special envoy to the Middle East.

His message, according to the statement, was: "Israel is interested in continuous talks with the Palestinians while preserving the security interests of Israeli citizens."

Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have accused each other of sabotaging the latest round of talks, which were held in Amman, Jordan. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Palestinian Authority hopes to justify its move to win United Nations recognition.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during a news conference with Ban, said Israel did not put forward specific proposals on borders and security that could have been the basis for further talks. Ban concurred and told Netanyahu that the authority has come up with specifics.

On Thursday, Palestinian protesters threw shoes, sticks and stones at Ban's convoy as it entered Gaza.

About 40 protesters briefly held up the convoy as it tried to enter the Gaza Strip from southern Israel, Voice of America said. No injuries were reported and the convoy resumed its travel once security officials removed the protesters, witnesses said.

Throwing shoes is a sign of disrespect in some cultures.

Most of the protesters were relatives of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, VOA said. Among their complaints, included on signs the protesters carried, were that the United Nations was biased toward Israel and that the non-government organization has refusal to meet with Palestinian prisoner groups.

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