Jewish Journal

Bibi Netanyahu promises to be ‘partner for peace’

by Brad A. Greenberg

March 25, 2009 | 12:27 pm

No one would ever accuse Benjamin Netanyahu of being a peacenik. But in his quest to form a coalition government and become the next prime minister of Israel, Bibi is sounding at least a little dovish. From The New York Times:

Mr. Netanyahu, the leader of the conservative Likud party, was delivering a speech to an economic conference in Jerusalem one day after the deeply divided Labor Party voted to join the government he is forming under a coalition agreement that seemed vague on issues pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

On Wednesday, Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the centrist Kadima party, called the prospective coalition a government “conceived in sin,” according to The Associated Press. Kadima, which narrowly beat Likud in February elections but did not have enough support to form a governing coalition, declined Mr. Netanyahu’s offers to join his because he has refused to commit to negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state.

Labor’s agreement to join Mr. Netanyahu’s government paved the way for a broader government than the narrow and hawkish one that Mr. Netanyahu would otherwise have had to settle for, increasing his chances of gaining international acceptance and possibly avoiding friction with the Obama administration.

“I think that the Palestinians should understand that they have in our government a partner for peace, for security and for rapid development of the Palestinian economy,” said Mr. Netanyahu.

He added that peace is a ”common and enduring goal for all Israelis and Israeli governments, mine included. This means I will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority for peace.”

His remarks were relayed on Israel Radio. It remained unclear what terms Mr. Netanyahu was offering for peace.

That, of course, is the million-dollar question.

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