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Recognition not a pre-condition for Netanyahu

    Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he is willing to sit down with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas without preconditions and, at the same time, has said that Israel will insist at the start of any talks that security arrangements are discussed and that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

    While the issue of recognition is seen by many Israelis, especially on the right, as a demand Israel must insist upon, Israeli diplomats have stressed recently that it is not and never was a pre-condition for talks.

    Tzipi Livni, Israel’s new Justice Minister, who is to lead the talks with the Palestinians whenever they are renewed, said as much last week, much to the anger of others in the Netanyahu coalition.

    The Palestinian side is still demanding a freeze on settlement building, although some PA officials have intimated that they are willing to compromise on this. More significantly, they have demanded an Israeli commitment to a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and a map with proposed borders between the two states.

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