WASHINGTON - Israel's prime minister outlined a "triple track" approach to peace with the Palestinians on Monday, a strategy that emphasizes political, economic and security planks to resolve the decades-long conflict.
Benjamin Netanyahu said his government is ready to resume peace negotiations without any delays or preconditions.
"The sooner the better," Netanyahu told a convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. Netanyahu's brief remarks were broadcast by satellite from Jerusalem.
He also cautioned, however, that Israel never would compromise its own security as it seeks peace.
Echoing remarks to the convention made earlier in the day by Shimon Peres, Israel's president, Netanyahu said Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Netanyahu said Jews and Arabs in the Middle East share that goal and must work together to meet it.
"For the first time in my lifetime, Arabs and Jews see a common danger," he said. "There is a great challenge afoot. But that challenge also presents great opportunities."
While the Obama administration supports a two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Netanyahu did not mention creation of a Palestinian state during his remarks.
Instead, he proposed his three-track strategy, which he called a "fresh approach" that would improve the quality of life for Palestinians while preserving Israel's security.
The political track is focused on resuming peace negotiations. The security track would strengthen what he called the "security apparatus" of the Palestinians, Netanyahu said. On the economic track, Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to remove as many obstacles as possible to advance the Palestinian economy.
"I want to see Palestinian youngsters know that they have a future," he said. "I want them not to be hostage to a cult of death, and despair and hate."
But Netanyahu's pitch for peace was tempered by what he called "two provisos."
First, if Israel abandons its own security, "we'll have neither security nor peace," he said. Second, for any peace settlement to be achieved, the Palestinians must recognize Israel as the Jewish state, Netanyahu said.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee: http://www.aipac.org/