Science Minister Jacob Perry sharply criticized Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Friday for his comments that there is no Palestinian partner for a peace agreement.
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On Friday, Haaretz reported that Ya'alon told a group of business leaders: “Don’t delude yourselves. We don’t have a partner on the Palestinian side for a two-state solution.”
"You can't be part of a government that is in the midst of conducting negotiations, and declare them a failure from the start," Perry said at an event in Tel Aviv hosted by StandWithUs, an American pro-Israel advocacy group. "Either you don't enter negotiations, or you give it a chance."
Perry also attacked Economy Minister Naftali Bennett: "I am angry that ministers in the government of Israel are giving the public a sense of 'let them keep talking, ok, for nothing will come out of it.'"
The science minister said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to present a "framework agreement" that will address the core issues of the final status agreement. "The Americans are trying to do unprecedented work," Perry said. "Kerry has taken this up almost as his own main mission. The security arrangements he's offering are more than reasonable. They are almost hermetic."
Perry also criticized tying settlement construction to the release of Palestinian prisoners. "I am angry that the prime minister and other elements in the government are tying the prisoner release with construction," he said. "Will the bereaved families be consoled by the fact that we're going to build a thousand more [housing] units in Itamar or Alfei Menashe? What's the connection? This irritates me."
Meanwhile, senior Palestinian officials told AFP that Kerry is due to arrive in the region next week. According to those officials, Kerry will arrive on Thursday, January 2, and spend a few days in Jerusalem.
During his visit, Kerry will continue talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas over the "framework agreement" he seeks to present at the end of January.