Netanyahu to Push Israel-Palestinean Peace

But incoming PM ducks question of statehood
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2009 7:47 AM CDT
Israel's Prime Minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu is seen before giving a speech at an economic conference in Jerusalem, Wednesday, March 25, 2009. Netanyahu on Wednesday promised to resume peace talks...   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu, the next prime minister of Israel, said in a speech today that his incoming government would be a "partner for peace" with the Palestinian people, but he made no mention of the two-state solution backed by the United States. As Reuters reports, Netanyahu focused on the territories' economy, saying, "If we have a strong Palestinian economy, that's a strong foundation for peace."

Netanyahu's speech, given a day after he enticed the center-left Labor Party to join right-wing parties in his coalition, was designed to ease concerns in Washington and Palestine about his seeming reluctance to pursue a peace settlement. A spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said that he wanted the next government to be "committed in an explicit manner, without ambiguity, to the two-state solution."