Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu promised retaliatory measures on Sunday after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made unilateral moves towards statehood.
Netanyahu did not immediately specify the action he would take and said Israel remained willing to press on with U.S.-brokered peace talks, but not “at any price”.
“They will achieve a state only through direct negotiations and not through empty proclamations or unilateral moves, which will only push a peace accord farther away,” Netanyahu told his cabinet at its weekly meeting.
On Tuesday, Abbas signed 15 international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war and occupations, a defiant assertion of statehood that surprised Washington as it was pushing both sides to continue negotiations beyond an April 29 deadline.
Palestinians said the step was a response to Israel’s failure to fulfil its pledge to free some two dozen Palestinian prisoners. Israel said it first wanted a Palestinian commitment to keep talks going beyond the end of the month. “Unilateral steps on their part will be answered with unilateral steps on our side. We are willing to continue negotiations, but we will not do so at any price,” Netanyahu said. Read more here.