Israel's Netanyahu: Talks with Palestinians will be tough, deal must be ratified in referendum

  • Updated: July 21, 2013 - 4:05 AM

JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister says he expects recently announced peace talks with the Palestinians to be tough, and that any agreement reached would have to be ratified in a national Israeli referendum.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Sunday at his weekly Cabinet meeting, his first on-camera remarks since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of peace talks over the weekend — ending a five year deadlock.

Netanyahu said his main guiding principles will be to maintain a Jewish majority in Israel and to avoid a future Palestinian state becoming an Iranian-backed "terror state."

Final status negotiations aim to reach a deal on the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees and security arrangements. The Palestinians say talks will be based on Israel's pre-1967 borders.

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