Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Sunday foreign policy speech stalled progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Egyptian state news agency MENA reported that the Egyptian leader informed Netanyahu that the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks should be renewed from where they stopped. In contention with Netanyahu’s instance that any future Palestinian state must recognize Israel as Jewish, Mubarak told MENA, “The call to recognize Israel as a Jewish state complicated things further and scuppers the possibilities for peace.”
Mubarak continued by contesting Netanyahu’s dismissal of returning Palestinian refugees to territories of the 1948 borders. “The call for a modification of the Arab peace initiative to eliminate the right of return will not be accepted by anyone in Egypt or elsewhere,” Mubarak said. “It hobbles all efforts to save the peace process, in a clear defiance of the U.S. administration,” he added. Mubarak continued, asserting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have to be solved before the Middle East’s problems could be resolved. “The solution to the crisis in the Arab and Muslim world lies in Jerusalem,” he concluded.