The remarks came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry left following four days of intense meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, during which he failed to reach agreement on a framework to guide the talks forward.

"We are now trying to reach a framework to continue negotiations for a period beyond the nine months some thought would suffice for reaching a permanent accord," Yaalon told reporters during a tour of a military base.

"We are not working on a framework agreement, but on a framework for negotiations, for continuing negotiations for a longer period," Yaalon was quoted as saying in a statement from his office.

Kerry had kick-started direct peace negotiations in July after a three-year hiatus.

But his latest visit was clouded by bitter recriminations from both sides, with leaders accusing each other of not being serious partners in the search for peace.

According to Israeli media, Kerry was due back in the region next week.

"What's clear is that there are large gaps, they are not new, but our interest is definitely to continue negotiations and continue to act to stabilize the situation and our relationship with the Palestinians," Yaalon said.

Yaalon, a hawkish member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, said the crux of the conflict was Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as ‘the nation-state of the Jewish people’.

A peace treaty would deal with all the divisive core issues, including the contours of a future Palestinian state, refugees, the fate of Jerusalem claimed by both as a capital, security and mutual recognition.

Meanwhile, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned that his far-right Jewish Home party would leave Netanyahu's coalition if Israel cedes territory to the Palestinians and agrees to the creation of a Palestinian state.

"We won't sit in a government that would endanger the future of our children and divide our capital," he said in his speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

(Agencies)

Latest News from World News Desk