PM calls Mubarak to clarify stance

Comes after Egyptian president blasts Netanyahu's demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.

mubarak netanyahu sharm 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
mubarak netanyahu sharm 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday night to clarify Israel's stance on a Middle East peace agreement, according to a report on Egyptian television. It came after Mubarak blasted the prime minister for Sunday night's policy speech, saying that "Netanyahu's demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is ruining the chance for peace." According to Egyptian news agencies, Mubarak further added that "not Egypt, nor any other Arab country would support Netanyahu's approach" to the peace process. Earlier Monday, a Syrian government newspaper slammed Netanyahu's speech and likened Israel's policies towards Palestinians to those of the apartheid government in South Africa towards blacks. Syria's state-controlled Tishrin published an editorial claiming that the prime minister's foreign policy address proved that Israel's interest is to allow Palestinians to live only in isolated areas, similarly to blacks in apartheid South Africa. "The Zionist government, according to Netanyahu's speech last night, is willing to establish Palestinian cantons reminiscent of the black people's cantons in South Africa when the racist regime was in power," the editorial stated. In his speech on Sunday evening, Netanyahu did not mention the Golan Heights, but said he wants to meet all Arab leaders and make peace, stressing that he is "willing to go to Damascus, to Riyadh, to Beirut, to any place," for this purpose. On Saturday, US President Barack Obama's special Mideast envoy said that Syria had a key role to play in forging peace in the region, during a visit that marked the strongest US push yet to improve relations with that country. Syria and the US share an obligation "to create conditions for negotiations to begin promptly and end successfully," George Mitchell told reporters, after a 90-minute meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus.