Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu pledges referendum on peace deal with Palestinians

 

Jerusalem

Benjamin Netanyahu used his weekly address to the Israeli cabinet today to reiterate his promise that any eventual peace deal with the Palestinians would be put to a referendum.

The Israeli prime minister faces opposition to the process led by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and from within his own cabinet, with some members threatening to resign in the event that Israeli officials resume face-to-face talks. Tzipi Livni – who has responsibility for the peace process - and Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, are due in Washington next week to hammer out the final details before talks can take place.

In an effort to assuage those on the right who argue that talks should not take place, Mr Netanyahu again promised that the people would ultimately decide on any deal. He is also attempting to mollify those concerned that the basis for negotiations will be 1967 borders, which many Israelis believe will leave the country vulnerable.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Mr Kerry had given the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, a written undertaking that 1967 would form the starting point of talks.

 “We are now making an effort to resume the diplomatic process. I see this as a vital strategic interest of the State of Israel, first of all because we want peace,” Mr Netanyahu said.

“At the same time, I am committed to two goals, and it must be understood that they must also guide the result, should there be one. First of all, if it will be, it will be put to a referendum. I believe that this is necessary. I do not think that such decisions can be made, if indeed an agreement is achieved, by this or that coalition process; it must be put to the people for a decision.”

Referenda are not used in Israel and any plebiscite would require new legislation in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. Opponents of the peace process would be expected to use the vote as a way of scuppering any deal with the Palestinians. Several members of the Israeli cabinet, including the trade minister, Naftali Bennett, have said that they could not tolerate a deal that led to an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Shimon Peres, the Israeli president called Mr Abbas on Sunday morning, according to his office, to congratulate him on the decision to return to talks. Mr Peres told the Palestinian president, that: “There is no alternative to peace, not for us and not for you. You took a brave and historic decision to return to negotiations – don't listen to the sceptics, you did the right thing.”

Mr Kerry trumpeted the fact that Ms Livni and Mr Erekat will visit Washington next week, but so far the deal does not go as far as securing direct negotiations between the two sides. It is thought that it could take a number of weeks before face-to-face talks take place.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world