Netanyahu warns talks with Palestinians will be tough

Netanyahu warns talks with Palestinians will be tough

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned ministers Sunday that renewed peace talks with the Palestinians will be tough, and said any draft treaty would be put to a referendum.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday said Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had agreed to meet to prepare a resumption of direct peace talks, stalled since 2010.

"Negotiations won't be easy but we're entering them honestly, sincerely," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, the first since Kerry's announcement.

The premier repeated pledges that if the talks produced a draft treaty he would put it to a referendum.

He also said he hoped the negotiations would be held "in a responsible, practical and serious manner".

Netanyahu spoke after two hardline ministers in his rightwing government came out strongly against any possible slowdown in Jewish settlement building as part of the deal.

"We must not have a freeze," Transport Minister Israel Katz, a member of Netanyahu's own Likud party, told public radio.

"It would be immoral, un-Jewish and inhuman to freeze the lives of people and their children."

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