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Netanyahu: Israel Will Not Be 'Binational State'

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 6, 2015.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 6, 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's warning that a collapse of the Palestinian Authority could have consequences for the security of Israel.

"Israel will not be a binational state, but in order to have peace, the other side needs to decide that it wants peace as well, and unfortunately this is not what we are witnessing," Netanyahu told a Cabinet meeting.

He added that the Palestinian Authority is continuing incitement against Israel.

Kerry's comments came during a forum at the Brookings Institution, where he said both sides need to renew efforts for peace talks.

He condemned the months of Palestinian attacks on Israelis as well as Israel's continued settlement construction on lands envisioned for a Palestinian state.

"The one-state solution is no solution at all for a secure, Jewish, democratic Israel living in peace," he said. "It is simply not a viable option."

He said one potential fallout would be the loss of Palestinian security forces and the need for Israel to deploy thousands of troops to the West Bank to fill the void.

Kerry has made Israeli-Palestinian peace one of his top priorities, but that process broke apart in April 2014 with no agreement. The Palestinians were angered by Israel's continuing settlement construction, while Israel objected to a unity Palestinian government that included the militant group Hamas. A 50-day war in Gaza that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, cemented the divide between the two sides. Scores of Israeli soldiers died in the conflict, along with several civilians.

"I've had a lot of discussions with both sides over the past three years, and let me tell you, the level of distrust between them has never been more profound," Kerry said Saturday.

He also described discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Kerry said "spoke more despairingly" than ever about the hopelessness Palestinians feel.

Some material for this report came from AP.

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