The United States doesn't want a two-month delay on peace process but rather achieve a clear path that allows Israel and the Palestinians to continue negotiations, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's offer to extend the settlement freeze in return for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
"We don't just want to push the can down the road two months," U.S. State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said.
"We want to create a clear path that allows the parties to begin the arduous process of addressing the core issues one by one with the intention of reaching a successful negotiation within a year's time," he said.
Crowley also reemphasized the U.S. commitment to the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the Obama administration's backing of the issue as a core demand in negotiations.
"We recognize the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people," he said.
"What Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday is, in essence, a core demand of the Israeli government, which we support, is a recognition that Israel is a part of the region; acceptance by the region of the existence of the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people."
Netanyahu offered the Palestinians on Monday an exchange of gestures wherein Israel would extend its moratorium on settlements in return for the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, while speaking at the opening of the third session of the 18th Knesset.
"If the Palestinian leadership will say unequivocally to its people that it recognizes Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my government and request a further suspension," Netanyahu said.
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