Netanyahu’s Endorsement of Palestian State a Step Forward: EU, US

The European Union and the US have termed the Israeli prime minister’s conditional approval of a Palestinian state as an important step toward achieving peace in the Middle East.

In a policy speech delivered on Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, with strict conditions though.

He said that he recognizes Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and would accept a Palestinian state as long as it has no military force.

Nevertheless, Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, came down heavily on Netanyahu’s speech terming it as “sabotaging” peace efforts.

Separately, the EU and the US said that Netanyahu’s consenting to Palestinian statehood is a step forward.

The EU and the US, along with Russia and the United Nations, are members of the so-called “Quartet” of international partners involved in mediation efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Jan Kohout, Foreign Minister of Czech republic, the country holding the rotating EU presidency, said that Netanyahu’s speech had a number of things which require analysis.

In Washington Sunday, a White House statement said that President Barack Obama welcomed Netanyahu’s endorsement of a two-state solution.

Obama has called on Israel to stop settlement construction in the West Bank territory it captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

Netanyahu said that Israel would not build new West Bank settlements or confiscate land to expand existing settlements. But he said that Israelis in the West Bank would be allowed to “lead normal lives” and raise children, as he put it. Israel’s government has said that construction in existing settlements will continue to accommodate the natural growth of populations.

Palestinians claim the West Bank as part of a future state and seek Jerusalem as their capital.

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