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Israeli official: Recognize Palestine

Feb. 9, 2013 at 8:03 PM

JERUSALEM, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Outgoing Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Saturday Israel should recognize Palestine's new U.N. status if Palestine renounces terrorism.

Ayalon said Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should offer to recognize Palestine's statehood at the United Nations in exchange for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying -- in Arabic -- he recognizes Israel's right to exist while renouncing terrorism.

The remarks came as Netanyahu seeks to form a new government after his conservative Likud party lost seats in the Knesset.

Netanyahu, if he is to form a new government, will likely have to make concessions to moderates seeking to restart the peace process.

The Jerusalem Post said a three-way summit featuring Netanyahu, Abbas and U.S. President Barack Obama -- and possibly including King Abdullah II of Jordan -- is possible this year, depending on the outcome of a meeting planned this spring between Obama and Netanyahu.

Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to make his first trip to Israel next week.

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