Israel's top negotiator says peace talks with Palestinians critical for Jewish state's interests
Israel's top negotiator cautioned Jewish leaders Wednesday that failed peace talks with Palestinians could lead to unfavorable conditions for Israel, according to an AFP report.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livini, who is the head of the Israel negotiators involved in the talks, told the World Jewish Congress assembly in Jerusalem that "stalemate can lead to a Palestinian state that would be forced on us -- not as the outcome of negotiations that represent the Israeli interest."
According to Livini, a stalemate would jeopardize Israel's "security needs" and could result in the establishment of a Palestinian state with international backing on terms unfavorable to the Jewish state.
"I believe in the peace process not as a favor to Europe or to the United States of America. It is our own interest," she said.
Negotiators from both sides, including Livini and Mohammed Shtayeh and Saeb Erakat from the Palestinian delegation, met in a new round of peace talks Tuesday in Jerusalem focusing their discussion on the topic of water.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who urged the two sides earlier this year to resume the frozen negotiations from September 2010, said Monday that negotiations between the two sides had intensified. "The pace has intensified, all the core issues are on the table and they have been meeting with increased intensity," Kerry said.
The negotiations, which are taking place under an American-imposed media blackout, included three sessions within the past three days.