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April 6, 2014 9:25 am
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Netanyahu: We Are Ready to Continue Peace Talks But Not at Any Price

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Prime Minister Netanayhu at his government's weekly cabinet meeting. Photo: Screenshot.

As peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority appeared to end in failure last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the people of Israel expect to be able to live in “peace” and “security” and “are ready to continue the talks, but not at any price.”

Speaking at the start of his government’s weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu pinned the crux of the failure on PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who he said was “not prepared even to discuss recognizing Israel as the national state of the Jewish People.”

Netanyahu said, “Israelis expect peace, a genuine peace, in which our vital national interests are assured, with security first and foremost.”

“In recent months the State of Israel has conducted negotiations with the Palestinians in order to reach a peace agreement,” he said. “During these talks we carried out difficult steps and showed a willingness to continue implementing moves that were not easy, in the coming months as well, in order to create a framework that would allow for putting an end to the conflict between us.”

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“Just as we were about to enter into that framework for the continuation of the negotiations, Abu Mazen hastened to declare that he is not prepared even to discuss recognizing Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, which we have made clear to both the President of the United States and to other world leaders as well.”

“To my regret as we reached the moment before agreeing on the continuation of the talks, the Palestinian leadership hastened to unilaterally request to accede to 14 international treaties. Thus the Palestinians substantially violated the understandings that were reached with American involvement,” he said.

“The Palestinians’ threats to appeal to the UN will not affect us. The Palestinians have much to lose by this unilateral move. They will achieve a state only by direct negotiations, not by empty statements and not by unilateral moves. These will only push a peace agreement farther away and unilateral steps on their part will be met with unilateral steps on our part. We are ready to continue the talks but not at any price.”

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