World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office denied reports on Sunday he has backed away from a 2009 commitment to seek a two-state peaceful solution with the Palestinians.
A statement by Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party widely reported by Israeli media said he had said that a speech he gave six years ago agreeing for the first time to Palestinian statehood as a solution to decades of conflict was now "irrelevant."
Netanyahu "never said such a thing," his office said in a statement responding to the report.
Over the weekend the Likud Party issued three contradictory statements. The first statement denied his much-discussed 2009 speech that had supported ending the Israel-Palestine conflict with a "two-state solution", which causes an uproar over the weekend. Likud then retracted this statement saying it was the opinion of the author and not party policy.
The second statement said that Netanyahu now rejects the idea of a two-state solution, and thus the creation of a Palestinian state.
The contradiction reached a climax when later on Sunday, Netanyahu's personal office released the third statement over the weekend that announced that the two earlier statements were incorrect, and that Netanyahu had "never said such a thing."
The party's statement, apparently issued by hardliners, said Netanyahu had also suggested "there would be no withdrawals or concessions, that this is simply irrelevant," referring to swapping any occupied land for peace.
Netanyahu's office denied this, too, saying he has long adhered to a policy that "under current conditions in the Middle east any land that is handed over would be grabbed by extremists."
The Israeli leader had repeatedly said he would not hand over land at risk of falling into the hands of extremists since the collapse of peace talks in April and after fighting a July-August war with Hamas militants in Gaza.
The media accusations against Netanyahu over the Palestinian conflict come as part of a bitterly fought campaign for a March 17 election.Last Mod: 09 Mart 2015, 10:30