Israel wants peace deal with Palestinians says Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Materials 31 March 2009 20:51 (UTC +04:00)

The new Israeli government will hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in order to reach a permanent peace agreement, incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

Addressing the Knesset as he presented his new government and its guidelines, Netanyahu said he would hold peace talks with the Palestinians on three levels: economic, diplomatic and security. "This joint path is the right path to peace," he declared.

Netanyahu, leader of the hawkish Likud party, called on the Palestinian Authority to "fight terrorism, to educate its children for peace and to recognize Israel."

He said, in a reference to Iran, that a radical Islamism armed with nuclear weapons was a threat to world peace, rpeorted dpa.

"There is no question mark over Israel's existence and we will not let anyone put one there," he said.

"Israel cannot afford to treat statements against it light- heartedly," he added, in a nod to comments by Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad, who has said that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

Netanyahu was tapped for the premiership by President Shimon Peres after it became clear that he had the best chance of forming a government following the country's February 10 election.

Netanyahu and his ministers were scheduled to be sworn in later Tuesday night.