Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered on Monday, a new temporary freeze of settlement activities in the West Bank in exchange for an official Palestinian recognition of Israel as the State of the Jewish People.Netanyahu stated that should the Palestinians fully and clearly recognize Israel as a state for the Jewish people, “then I will be willing to ask my government to reinstate the temporary freeze on settlement activities in the West Bank.”

During a televised speech, Netanyahu said that he had already delivered the message during confidential talks, and that now he is stating the demand in public.

“What will convince the Israelis that the Palestinians want to really live in peace with us more than this recognition,” Netanyahu stated, “This would prove real change on the Palestinian side.”

Responding to the statements of Netanyahu, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, stated that the demands of Netanyahu have nothing to do with the peace process or the Israeli commitments to peace.

Erekat added that the Palestinians reject the Israeli demands, and that the Palestinian Authority rejects the attempts of Netanyahu to create a parallel between Israel’s commitments and obligations under the International Law, and its unilateral moved and violations.

Erekat further stated that Netanyahu has to choose between peace and settlements, and that the international community holds him responsible for the ongoing illegal construction of settlements.

By recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, the Palestinians will be dropping the internationally guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees and their legitimate rights. It also endangers the presence of the indigenous Arabs and Palestinian population in Israel itself.