What Stands behind Netanyahu's Latest Political Statements?

Re-elected Israel's Prime Minister B. Netanyahu has recently affirmed his position on the Palestine-Israel peace process: he recognizes that it should base on the principle of two states and two nations.

Although, just a little earlier, during the pre-electoral campaign in Israel, Netanyahu's opponents had started outpacing him in the ratings of electoral sympathy, judging by preliminary surveys, he was quick to declare that no Palestinian state would be created as long as he stayed in the prime ministerial seat. The step designated to woo voters from the far-right nationalistic camp provoked an eruption of indignant comments from Palestinian and Western media.

Serving his fourth term as the prime minister, B. Netanyahu is now in need of legitimizing his authority on the international level, i.e. declaring his commitment to the principles of solving the conflict recognized by the international community as the unquestioned international legal settlement basis. However, the Israeli prime minister, who recognized the right of Palestinian people for creation of their own state during his notable speech at the Bar-Ilan University in 2009, still conditions his position on demands that Palestinians recognize the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. He also points out that Palestinians should go for full demilitarization of perspective education and for presence of Israeli Armed Forces on their territory for a certain period.

The Palestinian side views the conditions as an attempt to block talks on the return of Palestinian refugees, as well as an attempt to fix Israel's control over the territory of the future Palestinian state by means of international agreements. In their turn, Palestinians propose ceasing construction of Israeli settlements on the West Bank of Jordan, releasing part of the Palestinian convicts from Israeli prisons. The refusal of Israelis to comply with the demands has entailed failure of the negotiations conducted under the auspices of US Secretary of State John Kerry in January-April 2014.

At the same time, during the negotiations, as some informed sources claim, the sides were close to resolving a set of complicated problems, in particular, ones associated with territorial exchanges, delimitation, refugee issues. However, neither of the sides shows readiness for compromises, fearing the reaction they may spark in the extremist forces of both societies. For M. Abbas deals with Israel may greatly strengthen the positions of his political opponents, Hamas, and revamp the entire Palestinian political map. Palestinian authorities have chosen the path of forming a virtual state, craving for its recognition in international organizations and countries. The path ensures additional international pressure on Israel, but it is has absolutely no prospects in terms of creating normal living standards for millions of Palestinians on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu, just as his Palestinian opponent, is constrained in his actions by Israeli radical nationalists of the religious and the secular strata. His new government poses as a coalition of the right wing and Orthodox religious parties, where part of the key state posts are taken by overt naysayers standing against creation of a Palestinian state. Colleagues of the Israeli prime minister in the governmental coalition would hardly hail any compromises with Palestinians. That is why Netanyahu's statements are hard to regard as a prelude to any practical moves.

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