Netanyahu: I Will Not Uproot a Single Israeli

Speaking at Davos conference, PM stresses commitment to the Jordan Valley; Kerry: If talks fail, Israel's democratic future at stake.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference in Davos on Friday and said that he does not intend on uprooting any Israeli citizen.

Netanyahu's statement came as a response to a question about his commitment to the Jordan Valley. "I do not intend to evacuate any settlements or uproot a single Israeli," he said.

The press conference followed a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State in which the two leaders discussed the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu stressed that Kerry is not trying to bring the two sides to sign a framework agreement but solely to put forth ideas for a path toward progress in the negotiations.

He also rejected the warnings against an economic boycott on Israel due to settlement construction. "I actually see great interest on the part of international companies to invest in Israel," he said.

Later on Friday, Kerry spoke before the conference and devoted a large part of his speech to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kerry warned that if peace talks fail, both Israelis and Palestinians will be harmed.

"If talks fail, for Israel, the demographic dynamic will make it impossible to preserve its future as a democratic Jewish state," Kerry said. "Today's status quo cannot last forever."

Kerry also said that the Palestinians are risking losing their last chance for an independent state.

Kerry outlined several U.S. principles for solving the core issues: an independent state for the Palestinians wherever they may be; security arrangements for Israel that leave it more secure; a full, phased and final withdrawal of the Israeli army, a just and agreed solution to the Palestinian refugee problem; an end to the conflict and all claims; and mutual recognition of the nation-state of the Palestinian people and the nation-state of the Jewish people.

He emphasized that peace with the Palestinians "will make Israel strong." He spoke about the security plan the U.S. government arranged for the border between the West Bank and Jordan. He admitted that technology alone is not the answer, but it can contribute significantly to security, such as the case with Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. He said that in coordination with Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians could establish the most secure border in the world.

Kerry said that he is working with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on a framework for negotiations that would include principles for the core issues. "At the end of the day, it is up to Netanyahu and Abbas to recognize that peace is in the best interest of their people," Kerry said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.Credit: AP

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