Mitchell Pushes Two-State Solution in Israel

Palestinians must first accept Jewish state, Netanyahu responds
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2009 3:49 PM CDT
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, left, shakes hands with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman after their meeting in Jerusalem today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration’s envoy to the Middle East told the Israeli government today that Washington will “vigorously pursue” the creation of a Palestinian state, Reuters reports. George Mitchell stated America’s purpose as a means to organize statehood talks with Israel; PM Benjamin Netanyahu said it would first be necessary for Palestinians to recognize and accept that Israel is a Jewish state.

“Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish state before talking about two states for two peoples,” Netanyahu reportedly told Mitchell. Netanyahu’s right-wing government is expected to balk at the prospect of starting the peace process again—Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently called the 2007 Annapolis talks a “dead end.”