PM reiterates need for Palestinians to recognize Israel as Jewish state

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu used Monday's cabinet meeting to reiterate Israel's belief that recognition of its Jewishness would be an integral part of any final settlement. Netanyahu told the cabinet that the government's policy toward the peace process - currently under a "review process" expected to end by late May - was based on "two principles: Stopping the threats to Israel's security, and at the same time moving forward in a responsible and intelligent political process. To move forward, the Palestinians will have to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This will be a cornerstone of any future agreement." Netanyahu angered the US administration when it was reported that he had conditioned negotiations with the Palestinians on their recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. On Monday, Netanyahu's office denied that such recognition was a precondition for dialogue, but insisted that "recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People is a matter of substance and principle that enjoys wide recognition in the country and around the world, without which it will not be possible to advance the diplomatic process and reach a peace settlement."