Sunday, July 05, 2009

Netanyahu, First Time: '2-State Solution'

Maayana Miskin
A7 News

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu discussed his government's first 100 days in power on Sunday, and touted the “two-state solution” as an accomplishment. “We have brought about national agreement on the concept of two states for two peoples for the first time,” he said.. Netanyahu credited his government with giving “real meaning” to the concept of “two states for two peoples” by insisting that Israel retain its status as a Jewish state under any agreement aimed at creating a demilitarized Arab state in Judea and Samaria.

The speech was the first time Netanyahu has used the term “two states for two peoples.” Three weeks earlier he made headlines by using the phrase “Palestinian state” for the first time.

The prime minister repeated his conditions for the implementation of a “two state solution,” saying, “The Palestinians will need to recognize the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and the refugee problem will be solved outside Israel's borders. Israel needs, and will get, defensible borders and the complete demilitarization of the Palestinian territory.”

PA Rejects

The Palestinian Authority has rejected all of Netanyahu's conditions, and continues to insist that Arab “refugees” descended from those who fled pre-state Israel in the 1940s be allowed to “return” to Israel. Millions of foreign Arabs currently consider themselves “Palestinian refugees.”

The PA refuses to recognize Israel as Jewish, fearing that such recognition would be taken as denying foreign Arabs the possibility of immigrating to Israel and becoming the demographic majority.

Other Accomplishments: Economy, Calm in South

Netanyahu also claimed the relative calm in Israel's south as one of his government's accomplishments. Operation Cast Lead, conducted shortly before his government took office, created a basis for calm, he said, emphasizing that the actions taken over the past three months preserved the calm.

Israel has maintained its gains in Cast Lead by responding to every single shooting from Gaza, he explained.

The prime minister claimed accomplishments in the financial realm as well. His government has achieved “national economic unity” and stands to pass Israel's first two-year budget, a step he said “is a component of stability in an atmosphere of instability.”

The government has more plans for economic reform, including a proposal to ease building laws, he added.

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