Last updated: 30 May, 2012

Barak warns of unilateral moves if no Palestinian peace deal is achieved

If Israel and the Palestinians cannot reach a full peace accord, the Jewish state should pursue an interim agreement or unspecified unilateral measures, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday.

“We must try and achieve a comprehensive agreement — it is of the utmost importance,” Barak told an international security conference at Tel Aviv University.

“We must aim to discuss all of the core issues, putting an end to the conflict and an end to mutual claims,” the minister said.

“If this appears to be impossible, we need to think of an interim agreement, and even unilateral actions,” he said, without elaborating.

Five rounds of “exploratory talks” between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in January ended without a deal to continue discussions or return to direct negotiations, stalled since September 2010 .

The Palestinians have accused Israel of failing to present proposals on borders and security called for by the Quartet, which groups the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.

They say they will not resume talks unless Israel freezes settlement construction and agrees to base any future talks on the lines which existed before the 1967 Six-Day War.

And officials in Ramallah have also rejected the Israeli idea of an interim agreement on Palestinian statehood which leaves the borders of a state to be agreed further down the line.