Thursday, June 11, 2009

Netanyahu to accept two-state solution in upcoming speech

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to stipulate several conditions needed in order for his administration to endorse the two-state solution in an upcoming speech next week at Israel's Bar-Ilan University. Two of these conditions, among others, are that any future Palestinian state be demilitarized and that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Haaretz has reported that the speech will focus on the 2003 Road Map, Iranian nuclear ambitions, and the renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Despite pressure from the Obama administration to halt all settlement activity, Netanyahu is not expected to announce a settlement freeze. The Road Map stipulates that Israel halt all settlement activity as part of the first phase of the agreement and neither Palestinians nor Israelis satisfactorily completed their initial phase requirements.

Israel's Channel 2 news has indicated that Netanyahu has looked into several options for addressing the United States' insistence on a full halt to settlement construction (including natural growth), though the prime minister is not expected to announce any such freeze during the speech, held at what Haaretz describes as, "a bastion of Israel's national-religious movement."

Update: Netanyahu is set to deliver the speech on Sunday, June 14.

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