PM continues US tour following Obama meeting, speaks at large on two-state solution
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the Center of American Progress as well as before the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America Tuesday following his meeting with President Obama at the White House on Monday.
During both addresses, Netanyahu stressed Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution, clarifying that “It’s not about territorial compromise- it’s about mutual recognition, about the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state – and security arrangements,” referring to a demilitarized Palestinian state which accepts Israel as a Jewish state. He stated that he is willing to enter talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas without any preconditions. Abbas refuses to enter talks.
On settlement expansion, Netanyahu clarified that there “have been no new settlements built in the past years, it’s all expansion of existing settlements” stating that his government “has built 1,500 units a year – this is less than my predecessors – during the Barak, Sharon, Olmert governments. The growth in the settlements does not materially affect the potential for peace.” He stated that “A future deal with the Palestinians that any deal must ensure Israel can defend itself by itself,” and that a settlement freeze was not productive in the peace process.”
He stated that unilateralism is “possible, too, but it would have to meet Israeli security criteria and that would also require… a broader international understanding than exists now.” He reiterated this before 3,000 delegates attending the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America stating, “The reason we don’t have peace is the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary.”