'Israel Wants Peace, Security'

PM Netanyahu says his official response to US President Obama's speech in Cairo will be delivered in a major speech next week.

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Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 12:49 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel News Photo: (file)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that he will make his official response in a few days to the speech in Cairo last week by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The prime minister told ministers at the weekly Cabinet meeting that next week he will make a "major diplomatic speech" in which he plans to detail "our principles for achieving peace and security."

Netanyahu slammed media coverage of the past few days, saying he had read and heard quotes attributed to him that he did not say. "I would like to make it clear," he said. "We want to achieve peace with the Palestinians and with the countries of the Arab world, while attempting to reach the maximum understanding with the U.S. and our friends around the world."

However, Netanyahu added, "My aspiration is to achieve a stable peace that rests on a solid foundation of security for the State of Israel and its citizens." The prime minister said that he intends to discuss the issue with his coalition partners and "other elements among the Israeli public" prior to delivering his address.

Obama: No More Settlements
Obama warned in his speech that Israel must not build or expand Jewish communities in Judea or Samaria. He also called for the establishment of a Palestinian Authority state to assuage "the pain of dislocation" that he said PA Arabs had endured "for more than 60 years."

The Netanyahu administration issued a formal news release following the address, delivered Thursday from Cairo University, saying Israel will allow construction within existing Jewish communities.

Report: Gov't Will Set Up Israeli-American Monitoring Team
The government intends to offer to create an Israeli-American team to monitor settlement construction, according to a report published Sunday in the Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Acharonot. The team would ensure that construction does not exceed the current boundaries of given communities and that no new settlements are begun.

Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, arrives this week Israel to set up a permanent base and to conduct meetings with Israeli and PA leaders. Mitchell plans to monitor construction in existing towns and dismantling of start-up communities in Judea and Samaria.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she is refusing to honor an American promise that Israel can retain its large Jewish population centers that were built in Judea, Samaria and significant parts of Jerusalem.

She repeated a claim that the Roadmap requires Israel to surrender all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza - although in truth the document only calls for the future borders of Israel and a new PA state to be negotiated.



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