Israel may take up "unilateral actions" if the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks do not move ahead, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday, prompting speculations that Israel may unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank like it did in 2005 in Gaza Strip.
Barak said that if the Palestinian-Israeli talks "prove to be impossible, we have to consider a provisional arrangement or even unilateral action." The minister however did not specify which "unilateral actions" he meant.
In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, evacuating 8,500 settlers and thousands of soldiers from the occupied territory.
The Palestinian-Israeli talks stalled in September 2010 over disagreements on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. Palestinians said they would not resume negotiations unless the construction stopped.
The Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and want Israel to pull out from the Palestinian territories occupied after the 1967 war.
Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to raise the issue of Jerusalem, which it says is the indivisible capital of the Jewish state.