Thursday, May 02, 2013

It's not about land

Thursday, May 2, By William Booth:
JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel and the Palestinians could not achieve a peace deal based on land swaps alone and insisted that the most important thing is for Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.
“You saw what happened when we left the Gaza Strip. We evacuated the last settlers, and what did we get? Missiles,” he said, referring to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from the Palestinian coastal territory in 2005.
Netanyahu seemed to offer a cool response to remarks made Monday in Washington by members of an Arab League delegation, including Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jasim al-Thani, who suggested that the Arab states would support a limited, mutually agreeable exchange between Israel and the Palestinian territories of lands that fall outside the pre-1967 borders.
“The root of the conflict is not territorial,” Netanyahu said ... “The Palestinian lack of will to recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people is the root of the conflict.”
... In 2002, the Arab League offered recognition of Israel by Arab states in exchange for a complete Israeli withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their capital. So the statements by the Arab leadership that land swaps were acceptable is seen by some as a step forward.
... In his address at the Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu said, “Until the Palestinians recognize our right to exist as a national state — no matter what the borders — and until they declare that the conflict is over, there will not be peace.”

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