WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is addressing the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. Sunday, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told the forum he supports the idea of demilitarized Palestinian state.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. Sunday in a video call and said that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a single state for both people, but rather a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel.
"The only workable solution is not a unitary state, but a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state," Netanyahu said, reiterating his objection to the one-state solution. Netanyahu made the comments after U.S. Secretary of John Kerry told the forum Saturday that the current trends were leading Israel and the Palestinians to a one-state reality.
Netanyahu rejected claims that settlements are the main obstacle to peace, saying, "the root cause of the conflict with the Palestinians is their refusal to recognize the Jewish state Settlements and territory are an issue to be resolved but they are not the core of the conflict.
"President [Mahmoud] Abbas refuses to [go to] his people and say - it's over. No more claims after a peace deal," the prime minister said. "The Palestinians have not been willing to cross the conceptual and emotional bridge of accepting a state next to Israel, not one instead of Israel. Not just Hamas, but also the PA. They refuse to accept a Jewish state for the Jewish people."
Netanyahu said that recent events disproved the claim that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was at the heart of regional turmoil, "that was never true, but now it's demonstrably false We will not allow any one of these violent medieval forces threaten our country and threaten our people."
Nonetheless, he expressed optimism over a future resolution to the conflict, saying "You can't be the leader of the Jewish people and not have hope.
Before addressing the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu commented on U.S.-Israel relations, saying no one should underestimate their strength: "It's strong, and it will be even stronger in the years to come. I think everybody in Israel appreciates that, beginning with me."
Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu responded directly to John Kerry's warnings, saying that "Israel will not be a binational state."
Speaking at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Sunday morning that "Israel will not be a binational state, but in order for there to be peace, the other side needs to decide if they want peace. Unfortunately, this is not what we are seeing," adding that "the Palestinian Authority's incitement continues."
Speaking Saturday night, Kerry warned of the Palestinian Authority's collapse and called on Netanyahu to prove that his support for the two-state solution isn't just a slogan but a part of Israeli policy.
The secretary of state made the remarks a week after visiting Jerusalem and Ramallah, a trip during which he failed to secure willingness on the part of Netanyahu and Abbas to take confidence-building measures.