Netanyahu's Party Rejects Two States

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Likud MK Miri Regev told Israel Radio Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not enjoy a majority of his own party's support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Netanyahu first voiced his personal support for two states in a speech at Bar Ilan University in June 2009. Though eloquently stated, it disappointed many of his supporters, some saying he breached the promises that got him elected.

Since then, he's reiterated on several occasions that he remains committed to the two-state solution as presented at the university's Begin-Sadat Center.

"I believe that a framework to peace is what I outlined in my speech at Bar-Ilan University," Netanyahu told American Jewish leaders at a conference in Jerusalem this past February. "Two states for two peoples: a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state."

While Netanyahu repeatedly called on P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations without preconditions, he folded on that point last Sunday when he convinced enough ministers to approve the release of 104 Arab prisoners serving life sentences for murder.

The U.S. State Department, European Union and the Palestinian Authority welcomed the decision, as did the Quartet -- U.S., E.U., U.N. and Russia.

Regev said the prime minister does not have majority backing in his party for the prisoner release nor for uprooting Jews and ceding land outside the 1949 armistice lines.

The cabinet passed the prisoner release by a 13-7 vote with two abstentions, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of Israelis are against it.

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