Israel Says Security Vital to Peace

The Israeli prime minister has said his government wants peace with the Palestinians, but not at the cost of Israeli security.

Speaking by satellite from Jerusalem, Binyamin Netanyahu outlined his "triple track" approach to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington DC on Monday.

He said the approach would focus on political, economic and security plans and that his government was ready to resume peace negotiations "the sooner the better".

But while the US administration supports a two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Netanyahu did not mention the creation of a Palestinian state during his remarks.

Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, had earlier delivered a similar message to delegates, in an apparent move by Israel to soften its new government’s hawkish image.

Both Netanyahu and Peres stressed that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, which Israel, the US and others say is the aim of Tehran’s nuclear program.

Tehran denies the allegations and says its nuclear program is for purely civilian purposes.

"For the first time in my lifetime, Arabs and Jews see a common danger," Netanyahu said, referring to Iran.

"There is a great challenge afoot. But that challenge also presents great opportunities."
 
(Agencies)

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