Netanyahu: Palestinians' Unilateral Actions Will Be Reciprocated by Israel

'We are prepared to continue the talks, but not at any price,' PM says ahead of second three-way meeting.

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

"Unilateral moves taken by the Palestinians will be met with unilateral moves by Israel," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday morning in his opening remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the breakdown in peace talks and said that the latter's threats to turn to the United Nations would not affect Israel.

"We are prepared to continue the talks, but not at any price," the prime minister said.

Netanyahu added that at this critical stage of contact over extending peace talks, the Palestinians chose to take unilateral steps when Abbas signed the appeal to join 15 international conventions.

"We were prepared to take difficult steps in the coming months in an effort to create a framework that would enable the end of the conflict, but right as we were on the brink of this framework, the Palestinians violated the understandings reached," Netanyahu said. "The threats won't affect us. The Palestinians have a lot to lose from unilateral action."

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz called on Israel to withhold taxes collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. "When I imposed this penalty in the past, within two months the Palestinian Authority announced that it would stop unilateral steps," Steinitz said prior to Sunday morning's meeting. "I think it's time for an even harsher reaction."

The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are expected to meet Sunday with the United States' special envoy to the negotiations, Martin Indyk.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special representative Isaac Molcho will represent Israel at the meeting, while chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Intelligence head Majd Freij will represent the Palestinians.

This will be the second three-way meeting the Americans have sponsored since the blowout in the talks last week. The first meeting, which began Wednesday night and ran into the early hours of Thursday morning, was very difficult, included exchanges, accusations and threats, and ended at an impasse.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Israel, March 23, 2014.Credit: AP

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