Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has delivered his major policy speech but it has provoked as many different responses as the number of conditions he has attached.
While for the first time the right-wing leader publicly accepted the creation of a Palestinian state he stressed it was only if the new nation was to have no military and that Palestinians recognised Israel is a Jewish state. There was no back down over the settlements issue. Reaction in Washington has been to talk up the positive and leave the negative for another day. The speech has been described by the White House as an important step forward and a welcome answer to President Obama’s address to the Muslim world ten days ago. Netanyahu’s insistence that Jerusalem be the undivided capital of Israel and that there would be no place for Palestinian refugees in Israel has not so far been mentioned. But among Palestinians, Obama’s more considered reaction, once all the details have been digested, will be pivotal. Palestinian Negotiator, Saeb Erekat explained that the US president had a choice. “ He can treat Israel like a country above the laws of men, apply double standards, but this will be a costly road, or he can have the Israeli government oblige with its commitments emanating from the road map. The two state solution with ’67 boarders and stopping settlement activities including natural growth.” For the Palestinian leadership the Israeli premier has not gone far enough in meeting their concerns. For some Israeli’s he has bowed too far to US pressure.