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Netanyahu says Israel's security a priority in any peace deal

Netanyahu said Israel's security concerns must come first in any peace deal. [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 November, 2017

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he made it clear to the US that Israel's security concerns must come first in any peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he has made clear to the US that Israel's security concerns must come first in any peace process.

Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner has been leading efforts in recent months to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with the aim of achieving what the US president has called the "ultimate deal".

Netanyahu's comments came after Israeli news reports claimed to detail the plan under development.

"We heard plenty of speculation this weekend" about President Donald Trump's peace efforts, the Israeli premier told a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

He then declined to comment, saying only that "my position on this plan will be determined according to Israel's security and national interests".

Washington warned Palestinian officials on Friday that their office in the US capital will be closed unless they enter peace talks with Israel, US officials quoted by AP said.

By putting the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) on notice, it is thought that the Trump administration is attempting to secure more leverage in securing an elusive peace deal between the two sides.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he would not give in to Washington's "extortion" and was waiting for a response from the White House about the claims.

Trump's aides - led by his Middle East envoy Kushner and senior international negotiations aide Jason Greenblatt - have been ferrying between leaders from the two sides in recent months.

Despite the US push to revive peace talks, Palestinian officials have so far expressed impatience with Kushner's slow start, saying they have received no clear vision from the US on the direction or substance of talks.

Trump's ambiguity around the two-state solution - a key position of the EU - has also complicated peace efforts, while top officials in Trump's administration are overtly pro-Israel.

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