Skip to main content

Israel wants peace talks but 'not at any price'

By Michael Schwartz and Marie-Louise Gumuchian, CNN
updated 12:06 PM EDT, Sun April 6, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, has struggled to put peace talks back on track.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, has struggled to put peace talks back on track.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Palestinian official says Israel shouldn't object because they are following the law
  • Israeli PM blames Palestinians for obstructing negotiations
  • Israel last week reneged on a scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners
  • Palestinians responded by signing on to join 15 international bodies

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israel is willing to continue U.S-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians but "not at any price," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Attempts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to put peace talks back on track unraveled in the past week -- Israel reneged on a scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners, and the Palestinians responded by signing on to join 15 international bodies, reversing their commitment not to seek international recognition as a state.

Speaking at a weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu blamed Palestinians for obstructing negotiations.

Did Sec. Kerry waste his time in Mideast?

"The Palestinians substantially violated the understandings that were reached with American involvement," he said.

Netanyahu said Israel would respond with steps of its own if the Palestinians pressed ahead with unilateral actions toward statehood. He did not elaborate.

"They will achieve a state only by direct negotiations, not by empty statements and not by unilateral moves," he said.

"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."

A senior foreign policy adviser for Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said his party was not surprised by Netanyahu's remarks about statehood.

"If Netanyahu considers the Palestinians committing themselves to international law -- including committing themselves to empowering woman and protection of children -- is a provocation that calls for Israeli punishment, then what the Palestinians are saying all of these years have been proven beyond doubt that Israel considers international law to be hindrance for peace," Hussam Zomlot said.

Last July, Kerry announced a bid to reach a peace deal within nine months. But as time rolled by with little progress, Kerry sought to get Netanyahu and Abbas to agree to a framework which would form the basis for a comprehensive peace treaty.

With the deadline set to expire on April 29, Kerry and his aides have struggled to get the parties to extend the talks.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT