Keep peace talks discreet, Netanyahu says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said conducting the restarted peace talks discreetly would be helpful in reaching their goals.

Speaking Sunday at the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he was committed in equal measure to peace and security in the talks and would put the results to a referendum.

‚ÄĚThese will not be easy negotiations, but we will enter into them with integrity, sincerity and the hope that this process will be conducted responsibly, seriously and substantively, and, I must say, at least in the opening stages, discreetly,” Netanyahu said. “This will increase the chances that we will achieve results.”

Netanyahu said his goals in making peace with the Palestinians are “preventing the creation of a binational state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, alongside preventing the establishment of another Iranian-sponsored terrorist state.”

Also Sunday, President Shimon Peres congratulated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on his decision to reenter peace negotiations.

“You took a brave and historic decision to return to negotiations — don’t listen to the skeptics, you did the right thing,” Peres told Abbas in a phone call on Sunday, according to the Israeli leader’s office. “We will do all we can to solve the conflict and to live together in peace. We want to see both nations going down the right path.”

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief talks negotiator, and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat are expected to meet this week in Washington to set a timetable for the negotiations, which could begin a week later.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the restarting of negotiations on Friday during his sixth trip to the region in four months to bring about their resumption.

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