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Thursday, 19 March 2015

World presses Netanyahu after upset election win. Israel PM Netanyahu softens stance on Palestinian state

As Benjamin Netanyahu weighed up options for a new right-wing coalition Thursday, Western governments cranked up the pressure on the Israeli premier over his controversial campaign pledge ruling out a Palestinian state.

Both the European Union (EU) and the US gave a cool reception to Netanyahu's upset ­victory in Tuesday's election.

They expressed concern that his lurch to the right ­during the hard-fought campaign could prove an insurmountable ­obstacle to any resumption of peace talks.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas said a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict would be impossible with a new government led by ­Netanyahu.

In a last-ditch appeal to ­Israel's far right just hours before polls opened, the ­incumbent ruled out the ­establishment of a ­Palestinian state and pledged to build ­thousands of new homes for Jewish settlers in annexed Arab east ­Jerusalem.

While it may have secured him a third consecutive term, it has left him deeply isolated internationally and has done further damage to his ­already frosty relations with US ­President Barack Obama.

Washington brokered nine months of negotiations between Netanyahu's last government and the Palestinians that were predicated on a two-state solution and accused the Israeli premier of helping bring about their collapse.

The White House said it continued to see a two-state solution as "the best way" to resolve the Middle East ­conflict and warned it was reviewing its policy on the diplomatic ­stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians.

The statement did not ­elaborate on the options ­under consideration but ­speculation swirled about whether the Obama administration might cease using the US veto at the UN Security Council to shield Israel from the Palestinians' ­efforts for statehood.

The Palestinian leader said that it was clear from Netanyahu's campaign pledges that there was no prospect of a ­negotiated settlement with him as prime minister.

Abbas said the Palestinians would continue to "demand international legitimacy," in reference to their attempts to achieve statehood through ­international bodies.

The Palestinians will formally join the International Criminal Court on April 1 and have vowed to seek action from the very first day for alleged Israeli war crimes during last year's conflict in the Gaza Strip.

EU foreign affairs chief ­Federica Mogherini telephoned Netanyahu to impress upon him the need to "re-launch" peace negotiations "based on a two-state solution."

Netanyahu's center-left challenger Isaac Herzog had campaigned on pledge to re-launch peace negotiations with the Palestinians and mend ties with Washington.

Conceding ­defeat, the Zionist Union leader ­quickly ruled out any participation in a unity government with Netanyahu.

AFP
globaltimes.cn
19/3/15
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  • Israel PM Netanyahu softens stance on Palestinian state...

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has watered down a pre-election vow not to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In a US TV interview, Mr Netanyahu said he wanted a two-state solution, but said "circumstances have to change".

The interview with MSNBC was his first since winning a clear election victory earlier this week.

As the campaign ended Mr Netanyahu had appealed to supporters by saying he would not allow a Palestinian state.

But that view was tempered in Thursday's interview, in which he also denied accusations that another last-minute campaign pronouncement amounted to racism.

"I don't want a a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but for that circumstances have to change," Mr Netanyahu told MSNBC............http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31968676
19/3/15

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