Netanyahu to Push Israel-Palestinean Peace

But incoming PM ducks question of statehood
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2009 7:47 AM CDT
Netanyahu to Push Israel-Palestinean Peace
Israel's Prime Minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu is seen before giving a speech at an economic conference in Jerusalem, Wednesday, March 25, 2009. Netanyahu on Wednesday promised to resume peace talks with the Palestinians after he takes office, saying his government will be a "partner for peace."   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Benjamin Netanyahu, the next prime minister of Israel, said in a speech today that his incoming government would be a "partner for peace" with the Palestinian people, but he made no mention of the two-state solution backed by the United States. As Reuters reports, Netanyahu focused on the territories' economy, saying, "If we have a strong Palestinian economy, that's a strong foundation for peace."

Netanyahu's speech, given a day after he enticed the center-left Labor Party to join right-wing parties in his coalition, was designed to ease concerns in Washington and Palestine about his seeming reluctance to pursue a peace settlement. A spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said that he wanted the next government to be "committed in an explicit manner, without ambiguity, to the two-state solution." (Read more Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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