The White House welcomed Benjamin Netanyahu's support for the creation of a Palestinian state. For the first time, Netanyahu stated he would support a Palestinian state but under certain conditions.
Netanyahu came to Israel's Bar-Ilan University and delivered what many believed was one of the most important of his political career. He said he would accept a Palestinian state but only after Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Click here for more insight on the potential effect Netanyahu's speech could have.
"Prime Minister Netanyahu articulated tonight a vision of peace, of mutual recognition, of Israelis recognizing the rights of Palestinians to have a state of their own, of course demilitarized and of Palestinian recognizing the Jewish peoples' right to self-determination in our country too," said Mark Regev, Israeli government spokesperson.
Netanyahu put a number of other conditions on a future Palestinian state. He said it could not field an army, control its own air space or make military pacts with groups like Hezbollah or nations like Iran. He said Israel couldn't afford another "Hamastan" on its borders. He also stated Jerusalem would not be divided with the Palestiniants, but would remain the eternal capital of Israel.
While Netanyahu called for a stop to new settlement construction, he said "natural growth" or what he called "normal life" within existing settlements, would continue.
"I think the world won't agree to the conditions of Mr. Netanyahu from my point of view or a majority of the Jewish people in Israel it's a must conditions, we can not allow to have army for the Palestinians and to activate terror against Israel like they do in Gaza," said Shaul Goldstein, Mayor of Gush Etzion.
Chief Palestinian authority negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected Netanyahu's conditions.
"He is not with the two state solution, he is not going to stop settlements including natural growth," Erekat said. "So, we have attempts to move a peace process which was moving like a turtle in the region, now Netanyahu tonight flipped it on its back."
Some interpret Netanyahu's acceptance of a Palestinian state - even with his conditions - as giving into U.S. pressure from the Obama Administration. How his speech will affect U.S.-Israel relations remains to be seen.