Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received the support of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in opposing a Palestinian bid for statehood in the United Nations this September, the two said in a joint press conference in Italy.
Making peace, the Italian prime minister said, "requires joint initiative, and consequently requires negotiations." It would be appropriate, he added, "for the Palestinian government to recognize the State of Israel, to acknowledge previous agreements and to undertake the project of rejecting violence."
Of unilateral recognition, he added, "I don't think that this in any way would be able to contribute to peace."
Netanyahu thanked Berlusconi for his consistent opposition to attempts at bypassing peace negotiations.
Peace, he said, "will only come from negotiations. It cannot be imposed by one side, and not by one-sided UN resolutions."
Netanyahu told the press conference, "If someone really wants to be with us in peace, and not to erase us from the land, we'll sit together."
A declaration of statehood by the Palestinians would violate agreements between the Palestinians and Israel, he added, explaining that it would also harden the Palestinian positions. "If the UN adopts the Palestinian positions, why would they negotiate? If [that happens], it could actually push peace back.
"Anybody interested in advancing peace," the prime minister said, will oppose a UN declaration.