The Palestinian government has called on the international community to
confront Israel about the Israeli prime minister's remarks Sunday that
he would endorse a Palestinian state with certain conditions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would endorse
a separate Palestinian state as long as it has no military force and
recognizes Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
Palestinian leaders said Monday that Mr. Netanyahu's proposition stands
in the way of any prospects for peace. A spokesman for Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Mr. Netanyahu's speech as "sabotaging" peace efforts.
But the European Union and the United States say Mr. Netanyahu's discussion of Palestinian statehood is a step forward.
The EU and the U.S., along with Russia and the United Nations, are
members of the so-called "Quartet" of international partners involved
in mediation efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Earlier Monday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the Gaza
Strip for a second time as international Mideast envoy, two years after
Hamas seized power in the poverty-stricken territory.
Mr. Blair said the world must focus on the "genuine humanitarian
concerns" in Gaza, emphasizing that the local Palestinians are in a
Israel and Egypt have blockaded Gaza for the past two years, a move
Israel says is critical to the safety of the Israeli people.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, whose country holds the rotating EU
presidency, added Monday that a number of elements in Mr. Netanyahu's
policy speech need to be analyzed.
In Washington Sunday, a White House statement said President Barack
Obama welcomed Mr. Netanyahu's endorsement of a two-state solution.