Saturday 24 March 2018

Recognise Jewish state, Abbas urged

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to recognise Israel as a Jewish state to prove that he is truly prepared to end the conflict between the two sides.

Speaking in Washington DC, Mr Netanyahu issued a message to Abbas that he needs to recognise the Jewish state with "no excuses, no delays".

Mr Netanyahu said he hopes a peace deal can be reached, but that if one is achieved, it will almost certainly come under attack by Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaida and other militant groups.

He says that while international peacekeepers can help ensure Israel's security going forward - only the Israeli army can defend its homeland.

Mr Netanyahu also reiterated his disbelief about Iran's claim that it is not trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

He said Iran must be prevented from having nuclear weapons as well as the capacity to make them.

Mr Netanyahu told a pro-Israeli conference today that if Iran's nuclear programme is truly peaceful then Tehran should dismantle its heavy water reactor, which the Israeli leader says is not needed in a peaceful programme.

He added that Iran also must get rid of its centrifuges, stockpiles of enriched uranium and fully divulge the military aspects of its programme.

The Israeli premier called for more, not less pressure on Tehran - an apparent reference to the recent easing of international sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.

Israel fears the international community will concede too much to Iran to reach an end to the standoff.

Press Association

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