HERZLIYA, Israel, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he had reason to hope stalled peace talks with the Palestinians could resume within weeks.
I have a basis to hope, in a realistic way, that in the coming weeks we will renew the peace process with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said at a keynote national security conference in Herzilya, near Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu reiterated Israel was ready to renew the talks that have not convened since a Gaza war erupted in December 2008 without preconditions.
I hope that if there's a will on the Palestinian side, not only to build the Palestinian economy and institutions but to start building peace itself ... if the desire is there, we will see the resumption of the process in the coming weeks, he said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted Israel totally freeze Jewish settlement construction before talks could resume, and has rejected a temporary cessation in building ordered by Netanyahu in November as insufficient.
Palestinian officials had no immediate comment on Netanyahu's upbeat comments that followed weeks of renewed efforts by US President Barack Obama's peace envoy, George Mitchell, to get the sides back to the negotiating table.