White House repeats praise for Netanyahu speech


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House reiterated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had taken a "big step forward in acknowledging for the first time the need for a two-state solution."

"I think the president believes that there is a long way to go, and many twists and turns in the road to get there, but is pleased thus far with the progress that’s being made," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One. "And I think yesterday’s speech certainly is a big part of that."

Netanyahu in a major policy address Sunday at Bar-Ilan University endorsed a demilitarized Palestinian state if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Gibbs also said the White House didn’t "have a lot to add" to what Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday regarding the Iranian elections. Biden said the United States had questions about the conduct and fairness of the election, and Gibbs said the White House had "concern."

"But I think what’s important is the concerns that we have about their nuclear weapons program, and the concern we have about their support for terror isn’t any different than it was on Friday," said Gibbs.

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