Israel will give up land for peace, says minister
Israel is willing to make "very serious territorial concessions" in order to achieve peace with the Palestinians, a hard-line minister from the right-wing Likud party has said.
Yuval Steinitz, the intelligence and strategic affairs minister, said a "demilitarised" Palestinian state was the "only possible solution" to the conflict.
Mr Steinitz sent this relatively conciliatory signal on the eve of the first peace talks for three years. Tzipi Livni, the Israeli chief negotiator, will meet her Palestinian counterpart, Saeb Erekat, in Washington on Tuesday of next week.
Mr Steinitz is a close ally of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister and Likud leader.
Both men once opposed a Palestinian state, arguing that it would inevitably threaten Israel.
Today, however, Likud officially supports the 'two-state' formula.
Mr Steinitz suggested that Israel was willing to relinquish territory in the West Bank in order to reach agreement.
He added: "We are prepared to make considerable concessions and it's not going to be easy. Both sides will have to make very significant and very difficult concessions.
"The Palestinians will have to make territorial concessions – because there will be settlement blocks – but more important still they will have to recognise the very existence of the Jewish people and the Jewish state." (© Daily Telegraph, London)