The initiative led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is the "only way" to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told German television on Sunday, according to a report carried by AFP.
On the eve of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 24-hour visit to Israel along with her cabinet on Monday, Netanyahu told the German public television ZDF that the Palestinians and Israel would be best served to support Kerry's efforts and sit around the negotiating table.
During the interview, Netanyahu reiterated his condition that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, adding that he could not understand the Palestinian leadership's resistance to doing so.
Merkel said Saturday, ahead of her visit, that she would lobby on behalf of Kerry's peace efforts to reach Israeli-Palestinian peace.
"We need a stable two-state solution as soon as possible, with a Jewish state of Israel as well as a state for the Palestinians," Merkel said in her weekly video podcast. Without such an agreement, she said, neither Israel nor the Palestinians would have a prosperous future.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas over the weekend expressed his disappointment with the deadlock in U.S.-mediated peace negotiations with Israel, saying on Friday evening that American diplomacy has thus far failed to present a framework agreement that could lead to a deal.
Abbas expressed his views on the talks during a press conference in Paris after meeting with French President Francois Hollande. Earlier in the week Abbas met twice with Kerry in the French capital. Abbas characterized the American efforts as serious and substantial, but unable to bring about a framework agreement.
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