Ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit and increased American pressure to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday stressed that he has never abandoned his willingness to help establish a Palestinian Arab state.
In 2009, Netanyahu delivered a speech at Bar-Ilan University in which he made his first public statement of support for a Palestinian state as the outcome of the peace process.
Speaking to Jewish leaders in Jerusalem on Monday, Netanyahu said he stands by that policy.
"I believe that a framework to peace (with the Palestinians) is what I outlined in my speech in Bar-Ilan University – two states for two peoples: A demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state," said Netanyahu.
Unfortunately, continued Netanyahu, it has been impossible to negotiate this outcome in good faith because "time after time" the Palestinian leadership places unacceptable preconditions to even returning to the negotiating table.
Of course, even if talks were to be restarted, the current Palestinian leadership has already made abundantly clear that it will never recognize Israel as the rightful and natural homeland of the Jewish people, nor will it agree to be demilitarized.
Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday told Israel's Channel 2 News that this is all just diplomatic speak for the sake of public consumption.
"Anyone who thinks that in the center of the diplomatic, political and social tsunami that is shaking the Arab world it is possible to get a magical solution of comprehensive peace with the Palestinians does not understand," said Lieberman.
"It is impossible to solve the conflict, it needs to be managed," he concluded.
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