Netanyahu walking 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Menahem Kahana/Pool)
The Palestinians are setting preconditions to avoid talks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.
Netanyahu explained that he told US Secretary of State John Kerry several times that nothing is stopping him from starting peace talks - except for preconditions.
"The Palestinians are intentionally insisting on preconditions that we cannot abide in order to prevent the start of negotiations," Netanyahu said. "As far as I'm concerned, setting preconditions is an obstacle that cannot be passed."
Every time the government gave the Palestinians what they demanded as preconditions for talks, they made additional demands, the prime minister stated.
Negotiations for peace are likely to be difficult, he added, but the only other choice is a binational state, "an idea that is not good for the State of Israel, to say the least."
Any Palestinian state must be demilitarized and secured by the IDF, the prime minister said.
Netanyahu added that International forces may be present, but Israel cannot rely on them, pointing to the Austrian soldiers
who pulled out of the Golan.
"I'm not complaining to anyone; I'm just saying we can't depend on them," he said.
The prime minister also promised that any peace treaty will be brought to the Knesset or a referendum.
As for settlement construction, Netanyahu said building continues even today.
"Still, we need to understand what is happening around us. We need to be smart, not just right," he stated. "Settlements in the blocs do not significantly change our ability to reach an agreement. That is a false claim."
The real question, according to Netanyahu, is whether or not the Palestinians are willing to accept a state.
Later Monday, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu) expressed skepticism that there will be any negotiations in the near future.
"There were attempts [to renew talks] in the last government that didn't work. First, there was a building freeze [in the settlements], and then King Abdullah of Jordan made an effort," Liberman recounted.
"King Abdullah said how he felt. I think he was very honest. He pointed a finger and said who is to blame for lack of talks," the Yisrael Beytenu leader added, referring to the Palestinians.
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