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Netanyahu: Security vital to lasting peace deal

By the CNN Wire Staff
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem offices on August 22, 2010.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem offices on August 22, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Netanyahu's comments come days after an announcement that peace talks will resume
  • Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to hold direct peace talks
  • The talks will involve other regional and international players

(CNN) -- The Israeli prime minister said Sunday that talks with Palestinians will only lead to a lasting peace deal if the latter guarantees security and recognizes that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people.

Benjamin Netanyahu's comments came two days after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said direct peace talks between the two would resume.

"What we are talking about is a peace agreement between Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state," Netanyahu said at a weekly Cabinet meeting. " ... Security, recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and ending the conflict are the three first layers that would guarantee a true peace agreement, an agreement that could last for generations."

Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to hold direct peace talks beginning September 2 in Washington -- the first such talks since 2008.

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Video: Mideast talks to resume
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The talks, also involving other regional and international players, are intended to resolve issues for a Middle East peace agreement.

"These negotiations should take place without preconditions," Clinton said, "and be characterized by good faith and a commitment to their success, which will bring a better future to all of the people of the region."

Shortly after the announcement, Netanyahu said he welcomed the invitation for direct talks without preconditions.

The executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization said it, too, would participate, though chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told CNN that Israel must extend its moratorium on settlements that is due to expire September 26.

"The nonextension of this moratorium in settlements will mean we will not have negotiations. It's as simple as this," he said.

Regarding the goal of resolving long-standing issues, he said, "I think it's doable."

But Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the Palestinians must offer something, too.

"We want to make sure there are ironclad agreements to make sure there will be peace and security, because you can't have one without the other," he said.

Hamas, the anti-Israel group that runs Gaza, rejected the talks, though it had not been invited.