Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

Middle east

Palestinians slam Israel's two-state plan

Video by Christopher MOORE

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-06-15

Hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state for the first time, in a speech on Sunday that Arab analysts said "torpedoes all peace initiatives in the region".

The United States and the European Union have offered a cautious welcome to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s propositions for the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state.

 

Arab leaders and analysts, however, said Netanyahu’s propositions were unacceptable, especially in the light of his refusal to back down on the issues of settlements, the insistance that Jerusalem be the unified capital of the Jewish state and that Palestinians must recognise the Jewish character of Israel, a condition Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has long rejected.

 

The Palestinians recognised Israel as a state in 1993 as part of the Oslo accords but have refused to recognise it as "Jewish" because doing so would effectively mean giving up the right of return for Palestinian refugees, a key Palestinian demand since Israel was created in 1948.

 

In his speech on Sunday from the city of Ramat Gan, Netanyahu yielded somewhat to Obama's call for a two-state solution by proposing a demilitarised Palestinian state.

 

The hawkish Israeli leader also said the Palestinians must recognise Israel as a Jewish state, a condition Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has long rejected.

 
 
Issue of settlements
 

Spokesman for Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said Netanyahu's rhetoric "torpedoes all peace initiatives in the region”.

  

"It hobbles all efforts to save the peace process, in a clear defiance of the US administration," he said.

  

The Islamist Hamas movement ruling the Gaza Strip condemned it as reflecting a "racist, extremist" ideology that denied Palestinian rights.

 

Nassif Hitti, representing the Arab League in France, lamented the Israeli PM’s refusal to back down on settlements.

 

“Netanyahu has confirmed all our worst suspicions,” Hitti told FRANCE 24. “He did not endorse the concept of a Palestinian state. He endorsed a concept that does not exist under international law.

 

“The state he proposed would have very little sovereignty - it would not have any control over its borders, airspace or international relations. Israel would have control of everything."

 
 
Legitimate aspirations
 

Washington was initially upbeat about the speech, calling it “an important step forward” in the peace process.

 

US President Barack Obama "believes this solution can and must ensure both Israel's security and the fulfillment of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations for a viable state, and he welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu's endorsement of that goal," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

  

Tamara Cofman Wittes, an analyst at the Brookings Institute, told AFP the speech was as much aimed at Netanyahu's domestic audience as at the Palestinians, Arabs, and the United States.

  

However, there are implications for the new administration.

  

Wittes said Netanyahu "went a step or two in the direction the Obama administration wanted him to go," without making substantive progress.

  

The Obama administration has, for exmple, been trying hard to recruit broader Arab support for establishing normal ties with Israel in exchange for a settlement freeze.

  

With Netanyahu's comments on settlements, she said, "it looks like we're stuck at square one."

 

Samy Bouchner, editor of Israeli business news website israelbusinessclass.net, said he was surprised Obama had said Netanyahu's call for a Palestinian state was "an important step forward".

 

"This is a storm in a teacup," Bouchner told FRANCE 24. "Netanyahu used the magic words 'Palestinian state' but immediately emptied the words of any substance by laying down such impossible conditions."

 

 

Date created : 2009-06-15

COMMENT(S)