Netanyahu thanks Czechs for support


Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted he is committed to forging peace in the Middle East. He was speaking during a visit to the Czech Republic to thank it for being the only European country to vote against an upgrade of Palestine’s status at the United Nations.

“Thank you for your country’s opposition to the one-

sided resolution by the United Nations, for your friendship, for your courage,” Mr Netanyahu said after talks in Prague with Czech premier Petr Necas.

“The Czech Republic stood with the US, Canada and a handful of other countries against the prevailing international current, but history has shown us time and again that what is right is not what is popular,” the Israeli leader said.

“Israel is committed to a genuine peace, a genuine and durable peace. For peace to endure, it must be a peace that we can defend,” Mr Netanyahu added, stressing that he backed “a two-state solution of two peoples”.

“Unfortunately . . . the Palestinians asked the world to give them a state without providing Israel with peace and security in return,” he said, claiming that the UN resolution “completely ignored Israel’s security needs. It didn’t require the Palestinians to recognise the Jewish state it didn’t even call on them to end the conflict with Israel”.

Neither Mr Netanyahu nor Mr Necas mentioned the plan to build 3,000 new settler homes in a hotly disputed strip of the occupied West Bank. Israel announced the plan after the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last Thursday to give Palestine non-member observer status.