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Netanyahu Expresses Hope for Success of US Peace Push

Netanyahu Expresses Hope for Success of US Peace Push

Saturday, 4 November, 2017 - 08:45
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he hoped a US peace initiative would work and praised President Donald Trump for taking a fresh approach to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations.

For at least two decades, the goal of US-led diplomacy has been a 'two-state solution', meaning an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side and at peace with Israel, Reuters reported.

But neither Trump nor his aides have publicly recommitted to a two-state solution, instead saying it is up to the two parties to work out in peace talks.

Asked during a visit to London to commemorate the 1917 British declaration of support for a Jewish homeland if he felt now was the moment for peace in the region, noting Trump's involvement in peace efforts, he said: "Hope so."

"What's being discussed now is an American initiative. Obviously we make our interests and our concerns known to Mr. Trump. He's coming with a sort of refreshing 'can-do' thing… they're trying to think out of the box," Netanyahu said at London's Chatham House think-tank.

Netanyahu has previously expressed doubts about the Trump initiative, telling France's President Emmanuel Macron in July that it would be difficult to move forward quickly because he felt Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may not be able to deliver on commitments he had made.

But he said that more countries in the region were now beginning to engage constructively with Israel.

"The reason I draw hope from the moment is because of the larger shift in Arab-Israeli relations with the countries of the region.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz made new warnings against Iran.

“We will never allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. And we must cut off the axis of Shi'ite terror created by the war in Syria,” he said.

Katz spoke on Thursday at a Congress in West Jerusalem on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration.

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