PM demands Palestinians recognize Israel as Jewish state

Netanyahu: "I don't hear the other side saying 'two states for two nations.' I hear two states, but I don't hear two nations"; ministers speak up on settlement freeze.

Netanyahu cabinet meeting 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Netanyahu cabinet meeting 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that a peace agreement is based, first of all, on the recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People.
"The conflict between us and the Palestinians, as opposed to other conflicts that were resolved by peace agreements, is over the same piece of ground," Netanyahu continued.
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The prime minister stated that "we say that the solution is two states for two peoples, meaning two national states, a Jewish national state and a Palestinian national state.  To my regret, I have yet to hear from the Palestinians the phrase 'two states for two peoples'.  I hear them saying 'two states' but I do not hear them recognizing two states for two peoples."Netanyahu referred to the scheduled meeting in Sharm a-Sheikh on Tuesday and said "I believe that if the Palestinian leadership adheres to continuous negotiations, despite the obstacles that are coming up on every side, and if it is serious and determined in its intention to advance towards peace, just as we are serious, then it will be possible to,within a year, reach a framework that will be the basis for a peace settlement.
The prime minister did not refer to an end of the settlement freeze at the beginning of the cabinet meeting.
Contrary to Netanyahu's silence on the issue, a number of ministers gave their opinion on the issue of the West Bank building moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of September.
Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog referred to the settlement freeze and said that the talks scheduled for Sharm e-Sheikh "are an important step.... Brave steps need to be taken during the negotiations, even if it means that a continuation of the settlement freeze."
In contrast, Interior Minister Eli Yishai claimed that "we need to face the truth and not hide our head in the sand. I am very skeptical. I do not believe that the Palestinians want political negotiations."