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(photo credit: AP [file])
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas on Tuesday rejected statements made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in which he failed to refer to a two-state solution.
The Palestinians also rejected Netanyahu's demand in his Monday night speech that they accept Israel's right to be a Jewish state.
"We want peace with the Arab world. We also want peace with the Palestinians," Netanyahu declared.
"We are prepared to resume peace negotiations without any delay, without any preconditions," he said. "The sooner the better."
The prime minister, who addressed the thousands of congressmen, diplomats and pro-Israel activists by satellite from Israel, was speaking ahead of his own visit to Washington.
Since entering office, Netanyahu's largely rightwing government has struck a different tone from America on the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, leading some to conclude that the US and Israel are on a collision course on the issue. Notably, Netanyahu has declined to publicly support a Palestinian state, which is a major goal of the Obama administration.
In his comments to AIPAC, Netanyahu did not refer to a two-state solution. Rather, he called for working on three fronts with the Palestinians: diplomatic, security and economic.
The first front, he said, would be the resumption of negotiations, while the economic plank would constitute trying to improve the situation and the prosperity of Palestinians on the ground.
On security, he said that he would never compromise Israelis' safety, but that he wanted to rush ahead with the work of US Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton to train Palestinian forces in the West Bank.
PA officials in Ramallah said Netanyahu's remarks showed he was not "serious" about reaching any agreement.
They added that the PA would not resume peace talks with Israel as long as Netanyahu did not change his policy toward the Palestinians.
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said any solution that was not based on the two-state principle would be unacceptable.
"Netanyahu's statements are unclear and insufficient," Abu Rudaineh said. "Peace means recognizing the twostate solution and halting settlement activities. Any solutions that are not based on United Nations resolutions are unacceptable."