Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his ministers Sunday that Israel was willing to resume peace negotiations with Syria with no preconditions.
The PM said he preferred direct talks, but "if a mediator is involved, he should be impartial. The Turkish prime minister (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) has not reinforced his image as an objective, unbiased mediator.
"We would agree to talks under French mediation, if France is so inclined," added Netanyahu.
The prime minister briefed the cabinet on his recent visits to the US and France, describing his meeting with US President Barack Obama as "very good."
According to Netanyahu, the talks at the White House focused on the Iranian nuclear crisis and the stalled Mideast peace process.
"There is an understanding within the US administration that Israel is willing to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians," said the PM, who accused the Palestinians, of "withdrawing" and "imposing unprecedented constraints."
Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said, "I don’t mean to spoil the party, but due to the situation we're in, whereby the peace process must be advanced by force, a third party must see to it that Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) gets involved even if he is reluctant to negotiate with us."
As for possible negotiations with Syria, Ben-Eliezer said Turkey should not be ruled out as a mediator. "We have important strategic relations (with Turkey); we can't be afford strained relations with neighboring countries," said the minister.