JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could be an outcome if the parties fail to reach agreement on major core issues in peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
When asked about Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comment that the best option could be a long-term interim pact because a permanent deal was not possible, Netanyahu said:
“If ... we perhaps reach a (dead end) on Jerusalem and perhaps (a dead end) on refugees, then possibly the outcome could be an interim agreement. It is possible, I cannot rule it out,” Netanyahu said in an interview on Israel’s Channel 10 television.
It was the first time Netanyahu had said there could be an alternative path in peace talks to the U.S.-brokered negotiations that stalled after Israel refused to extend a partial West Bank building freeze on September 26, although he declined to discuss details of such a move.
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected outright the possibility of an interim peace deal saying the matter of Jerusalem and refugees had to be resolved and could not be deferred to a later date.
“This is unacceptable to us, because it would exclude two vital issues, Jerusalem and the refugees. Jerusalem is a red line as it is to be the capital of a future Palestinian state ... going back to talk about a state without determining its borders is unacceptable, and it will not lead us to a true peace,” Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdaineh said.
Netanyahu said in the event the Palestinians agreed to recognise Israel as a Jewish state he would be willing to jeopardise coalition agreements to pursue a peace deal.
“If the Palestinians will recognise a Jewish state ... I tell you here and now I will go all the way with this, no coalitional consideration will stop me ... Not in reaching the agreement and not in presenting it to the people and the majority of the people will support me,” he said.