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November 3, 2013 12:26 pm

Netanyahu: Refusal to Recognize Israel as Jewish State ‘at the Root of the Conflict’

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Prime Minister Netanyahu at his government's weekly cabinet meeting. Photo: Screenshot.

The refusal to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people is at the root of the country’s conflict with the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday.

Marking the 96th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the right of the Jewish People to a homeland in then-British Mandate Palestine, Netanyahu reiterated the demand of his government that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as the Jewish state in any final status agreement between the two sides.

“In order for there to be peace between us and our Palestinian neighbors, they must recognize the right of the Jewish People to a state of its own in its homeland. This means that in a permanent agreement they will drop their national demands, including the right of return and any other national demand on the State of Israel,” he said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has continually stated that the PA will not recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

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Netanyahu also highlighted his position that part of any final status agreement must also include an Israeli troop presence along the Jordan River.

“These security arrangements are important to us. We will insist upon them. They will certainly include many things, but first and foremost, the security border of the State of Israel will remain along the Jordan River,” he said.

Ma’ariv reported last month that this particular position has become a major sticking point between the two sides, with PA negotiators demanding that only its forces be placed in the Jordan Valley.

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