Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel would not extend a construction moratorium in the West Bank past September and that he believed a peace agreement with the Palestinians could be reached within a year.
"I think we've done enough. Let's get on with the talks," he said, when asked in an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations whether he would extend the limited freeze he put in place to coax the Palestinians into peace negotiations.
At the forum, Netanyahu repeated a call to the Palestinians to move from indirect talks that began in May under US mediation to face-to-face negotiations on statehood.
"I think we should seize the moment. And it is a challenging moment and an important moment. We have the ability to negotiate a peace," Netanyahu said at the international affairs think tank in New York.
"And I'm prepared to take risks," Netanyahu added, while stressing that would not entail any move that could jeopardize Israel's security.
"But we have to get on with it. We should just stop all the delays and start now, next week, in two weeks - get the talks going. Because only if we start them, we can complete them."
Netanyahu said he intended "to confound the skeptics and critics." But he added: "I need a partner."
The future of settlements, he said, would be addressed in the so-called final status talks with the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the White House denied collaborating with Israel on nuclear power, just a day after Netanyahu's office announced that the United States had conveyed a letter to Israel enabling cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear activity between the two countries, despite Israel not having signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.