Finance Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon (2L) seen at the weekly cabinet meeting at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem. April 06, 2014. (Photo: Amit Shabi/Flash90) (Photo: Amit Shabi/Flash90)
peace negotiations

The Israeli team has worked hard to reach an agreement with the Palestinian side during the US-brokered peace negotiations, but to no avail. Israel may therefore take unilateral steps of its own.

On Sunday morning, at the weekly cabinet session in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s profound desire for genuine peace but lamented that the Palestinian side seemed not to be interested in an agreement and instead – in violation of the rules in the UN-mediated peace negotiations – forged ahead with unilateral bids for statehood at the United Nations.

As a result, the Jewish state will contemplate its own unilateral moves, the Israeli leader declared.

“In recent months the State of Israel has conducted negotiations with the Palestinians in order to reach a peace agreement. Israelis expect peace, a genuine peace, in which our vital national interests are assured, with security first and foremost,” Netanyahu stated.

“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. Just as we were about to enter into that framework for the continuation of the negotiations, [PA President] Abu Mazen [aka Mahmoud Abbas] 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,” Netanyahu said.

“Thus the Palestinians substantially violated the understandings that were reached with American involvement. 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.”

Secretary Kerry Faces ‘Reality Check’

US Secretary of State John Kerry, after a year of intensive efforts and shuttle diplomacy to bring the Israeli and Palestinian sides together before the April 19th deadline for an agreement, and after having been described by diplomatic sources as being out of “touch with reality,” has acknowledged the deadlock in the peace negotiations.

“It’s reality-check time,” Kerry said on Friday.

Date: Apr. 4, 2014