Israeli PM doubts Palestinian peace commitment

Updated: 2014-01-03 09:11


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Israeli PM doubts Palestinian peace commitment

US Secretary of State John Kerry listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a statement to the press before a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem January 2, 2014. Kerry arrived in Israel on Thursday in his latest bid to resume peace negotiations and find scarce common ground between pessimistic Israeli and Palestinian officials. [Photo/Agencies]

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday expressed in a statement his doubts about the Palestinians' commitment to the peace process prior to his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Netanyahu and Kerry made brief statements respectively before their meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, a couple of hours after Kerry landed in Israel in an attempt to salvage the failing talks.

"Given the actions and the words of Palestinian leaders, we have doubts in Israel that they are committed to peace," Netanyahu said, aiming his darts at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for not condemning militant attacks against Israelis in recent weeks.

"Peace means recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said. "Abbas must reject terror and embrace peace."

Kerry, on his part, said that both sides are facing difficult choices in the weeks ahead regarding the issues at hand in the negotiations.

"We know what the issues are and the parameters," Kerry said. " The time is soon arriving when leaders will have to make tough decisions."

Kerry said that during the following three days he will "work with both sides to narrow the differences on a framework that will set guidelines for negotiations. The framework will address all core issues. My role is to facilitate the ideas of both parties on those topics."

Kerry will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday evening and on Saturday morning, and will meet with Netanyahu again on Friday afternoon. If necessary, Kerry will conduct further meetings with the two leaders on Sunday.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in July after a three-year.

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