Monday, June 15, 2009

Politics: Israel: Prime Minister mentions 'statehood' for Palestinians, won't obstruct settlements

Analysis: Netanyahu is steering a course that pleases neither side
by Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem The Guardian UK, (Jun15,2k9)

Binyamin Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel barely three months ago and already finds himself in an unexpectedly difficult position, torn between mounting US pressure for a Middle East peace deal and the loyalties of his rightwing coalition allies, many of whom oppose a Palestinian state. His key policy speech last night was an effort to navigate the difficult course between the two.

Netanyahu's message was mixed. On the one hand, he finally mentioned the prospect of a Palestinian state, although he said that could come only under strict conditions. On the other hand, he refused to meet US demands for a halt to settlement activity and insisted Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state if a deal was to be achieved.
Peres praises Netanyahu's speech, calling it "brave and real"
by Staff, (Jun15,2k9)

President Shimon Peres on Monday hailed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech, calling the foreign policy address "brave and real."

According to Israel Radio, Peres lauded Netanyahu for endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel and for calling on the Palestinians to begin negotiations immediately without preconditions.

The president said that it is clear that Netanyahu's words helped to strengthen Israel's international status.

BBC "Palestinians dismiss Israel plan" (Jun15,2k9) by Tim Franks from Jerusalem:
Palestinians have rejected the Israeli prime minister's conditions for a two-state solution, saying he has "paralysed" the peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a major policy speech, accepted the creation of a Palestinian state but only if it was demilitarised.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman said [Netanyahu's] comments challenged Palestinian, Arab and US positions.

But the US said Mr Netanyahu's stance was an "important step forward".

In a landmark speech, weeks after US President Barack Obama urged him to agree to a two-state plan, Mr Netanyahu said the Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state.

He said a Palestinian state must have no army, no control of its air space and no way of smuggling in weapons.

His speech provoked anger among Palestinian officials.


"The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise. Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back" -- Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator


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