US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that a failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is not an option, and that all the parties involved should acknowledge that any alternatives to a possible agreement would be unacceptable.
However, he noted that in light of the complex situation in the Middle East, the possibility of not achieving an agreement cannot be entirely ruled out.
Kerry warned that the status quo between Israel
and the Palestinians cannot continue. While there is prosperity and momentary security in Israel, he said, it is an illusion that is bound to change if talks flounder: "The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott. That will intensify in the case of failure. We all have a strong interest in this conflict resolution."
Kerry expressed, without much elaboration, his appreciation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and chief Israeli negotiator Justice Minster Tzipi Livni
, stressing that both have taken tough decisions in the process of negotiations with the Palestinians.
Secretary Kerry in Munich (Photo: Reuters)
Kerry during speech, Saturday (Photo: Getty Images)
US' top diplomat further implicitly addressed criticism towards him that was expressed by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
regarding a "messianic pursuit" after peace in the Middle East: "I believe in the possibility or I wouldn't pursue this," he said. "I don't think we're being quixotic ... We're working hard because the consequences of failure are unacceptable."
Kerry added that both US President Barack Obama and himself are entirely committed to the negotiations, and believe that a possible deal would be the key to an entire change of the Middle East.
While stressing that the alternatives to the success of the negotiations would not be tolerable by any party and expressing sheer optimism, Kerry still noted that the dynamic in the field proves that the possibility of a failure still persists. All parties must work together, Kerry stated, in order to start believing in an achievable peace opportunity.
Kerry avoided commenting on the content of talks between Israel and the Palestinians and information that was recently published in American media about the subject.
The United States hopes to complete a "framework" accord in coming weeks and will then try to negotiate a final peace deal by the end of 2014, a US official said this week, according to a participant in a briefing with American Jewish leaders.
US envoy Martin Indyk said the framework would address core issues in the conflict, including borders, security, refugees and Jewish settlements, a participant in the briefing said.
Reuters contributed to this report