Israel ready for historic compromise with Palestinians: Netanyahu



Zeenews Bureau

Jerusalem: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that his new government was willing to make peace with the Palestinians.

During his new term, Netanyahu said he hopes to revivify peace efforts, which remained frozen throughout the Israeli PM's just-completed four-year term.

"We extend our hand in peace to the Palestinians," Netanyahu said. "Israel has proven time and again it is ready for concessions in exchange for real peace, and the situation today is no different."

"With a Palestinian partner that is willing to hold negotiations in good will, Israel will be ready for a historic compromise that will end the conflict with the Palestinians once and for all," he said.

Netanyahu's new coalition, formed around six weeks of talks following Israel's January 23 Parliamentary Election, comprises of hard-liners and moderates.

Netanyahu's statement can also be analysed in the wake of US President Barack Obama's scheduled visit to Israel on March 20.

The Palestinians refused to negotiate with Netanyahu in his last term while Israel continued to build homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians say construction in the areas, which Israel captured in 1967 and where they hope to establish a state, is a sign of bad faith. More than 500,000 Israelis now live in the two areas.

Netanyahu has refused to halt settlement construction, saying negotiations should resume without any preconditions. But the international community has shown growing impatience with the Israelis.

(With Agency inputs)