Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting US envoy George Mitchell that a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state was a precondition for Mideast peace talks.
AFP - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday demanded the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state during a meeting with US special envoy George Mitchell, the premier's office said.
"Israel expects the Palestinians to recognise the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people," the prime minister told Mitchell at their meeting in Tel Aviv.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected such a demand in the past, saying it recognises Israel within the country's borders of before the 1967 Middle East when the Israelis seized the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Recognition of a Jewish state would amount for the Palestinians to abandoning the right to return of Palestinian refugees.
Mitchell, who arrived on Wednesday, has been pressing a two-state solution to sceptical officials in Israel, whose hawkish new prime minister opposes a Palestinian state.
"US policy favours, with the respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a two-state solution," Mitchell told reporters after holding talks in Jerusalem with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
In response, Lieberman said that "the peace process has reached a dead end" and that "the new (Israeli) government will have to formulate new ideas and approaches," according to a statement from his office.
"The traditional approach has so far led to no solutions or results," Lieberman said.
Date created : 2009-04-16