Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has for the first time
endorsed the goal of creating a demilitarized Palestinian state.
In a major policy speech Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu attached two key
conditions to his acceptance of Palestinian statehood. He said he wants
international guarantees that a Palestinian state would not have a
military capability that could threaten Israel's security.
Mr. Netanyahu also said the Palestinian leadership must recognize Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected this demand. His
government has said Palestinian refugees who fled Israel during its war
of independence, and their millions of descendants, should have a right
of return to their former homes.
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a two-state solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict comprising an independent Palestine
alongside a Jewish state of Israel.
Mr. Netanyahu called on Mr. Abbas' government to resume peace talks
with Israel immediately. He also urged Arab states to cooperate with
Israel in boosting the Palestinian economy.