Thursday, March 19, 2015

Israel’s Netanyahu Reopens Door to Palestinian State, but White House Is Unimpressed

MARCH 19, 2015

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Thursday tried to walk back his pre-election declaration that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch, but his new assertions appeared to do nothing to assuage an infuriated Obama administration.

In an interview on MSNBC, Mr. Netanyahu also said he had not been trying to suppress the votes of Arab citizens with an Election Day video warning that they were heading to polling stations in large numbers.

Mr. Netanyahu said that he still wanted “a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that he had not intended to reverse the position he took endorsing that in a 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University. “I haven’t changed my policy,” he said in the interview, his first since his resounding victory on Tuesday, which handed him a fourth term. “What has changed is the reality.”

Despite this rhetorical reversal, Mr. Netanyahu did not say he was ready to return to negotiations or present any new ideas for achieving peace. He reiterated longstanding positions that the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and its pact with the militant Islamist Hamas movement, made an agreement impossible right now.

In Netanyahu’s Next Knesset, a More Compatible Coalition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party achieved a surprisingly strong victory in Tuesday’s election. Now, he is likely to build a right-wing coalition of 67 of the 120 members of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.

(More here.)


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