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Obama Hanging Tough

The BBC reports on the White House meeting: Obama presses Netanyahu over two-state plan

Mr Netanyahu said he was ready to start peace talks “immediately” but refrained from endorsing a Palestinian state.

After their meeting in Washington, Mr Obama said he had suggested the Israeli prime minister had a “historic opportunity to get a serious movement” on Palestinian statehood.

Mr Netanyahu said Israel was ready to live “side by side” with Palestinians and he could resume talks immediately, but any agreement depended on Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s right to exist “as a Jewish state”, he added.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat reacted with derision to Mr Netanyahu’s remarks.

“How can I govern myself by myself as a Palestinian with his occupation going on on my neck on the hour every hour? With his roadblocks segregating our towns and villages and refugee camps?” he said.

The Palestinians have to recognize Israel “as a Jewish state” and renounce violence, but Israel doesn’t even have to recognize the existence of the Palestinian people.

The inclusion of “as a Jewish state” is recognition that sooner or later Jews will be a minority in Israel, so no one should get upset when non-Jews don’t get to vote in elections, have to wear colored badges, and can only live in specified areas. Before anyone decides to complain about my comments they should read the party platforms of the members of Netanyahu’s coalition.

At least Obama is holding firm on this issue, and the use of diplomacy with Iran.