Israel Open to Demilitarized Palestinian State: Netanyahu

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2009 1:16 PM CDT
An Israeli man tears posters, hung by an extremist right wing group, depicting President Barack Obama wearing a traditional Arab headdress, in Jerusalem, Sunday, June 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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(Newser) – Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today called for the creation of a limited Palestinian state for the first time, saying it would have to be disarmed. Netanyahu spoke during a major policy speech about his Mideast peacemaking intentions, in which he called on Palestinian leaders to restart peace negotiations. "In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel," he said.

Up to now Netanyahu has resisted endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a Mideast peace settlement, drawing intense pressure from the administration of President Barack Obama. Netanyahu also said the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and he declared that the solution of the Palestinian refugee problem must be "outside Israel." Netanyahu also called for Arab leaders to meet him and contribute to Palestinian economic development.