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Avigdor Liberman Calls for New Elections as Peace Talks Fail

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called for new national elections during a speech in New York, saying he preferred a poll to freeing more Palestinian prisoners.

Liberman, who is scheduled to meet in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry later this week, made the call for new elections during an annual conference sponsored by the Jerusalem Post.

Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party ran together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in last year’s elections.

Following Liberman’s remarks, opposition leader and Labor party head Isaac Herzog called for a new government coalition to be formed, recommending that the centrist Yesh Atid party headed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid and the left-leaning Hatnua party led by Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni join him in a new coalition.

Also during his New York address, Liberman called the “release of terrorists” as part of the incentives to convince the Palestinians to remain at the negotiation table past the April 29th deadline “not an option.”

“I support negotiations with the Palestinians. We’re ready for any kind of discussion, not ready for blackmail,” Liberman said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

He addressed the offer by Kerry to release American spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard as an incentive for Israel to release Palestinian prisoners. He called the release of Pollard an “American issue,” but also said that he should be released on “humanitarian grounds,” according to the Post.

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