Israel demands Palestinians recognize "Jewish state"

JERUSALEM Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:28pm EDT

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem April 6, 2009. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem April 6, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a visiting U.S. envoy on Thursday that his government would condition talks over Palestinian statehood on the Palestinians first recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

"Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish state before talking about two states for two peoples," a senior official in Netanyahu's office quoted the new prime minister as telling George Mitchell, U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Writing by Adam Entous, Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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