Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to make “painful compromises” for peace with Palestinians but refused to agree any deal that threatened the country's security or identity as a Jewish state.
Speaking in the US before a joint meeting of Congress, Mr Netanyahu said Israel wants and needs peace but repeated his flat rejection of a return to what he called the “indefensible” borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war.
He also restated Israel's refusal to entertain the return of millions of Palestinian refugees and their families to land in Israel. And he maintained that Jerusalem, claimed by both sides as their capital, could not be divided.
He said Israel would not negotiate with terrorists and urged Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to rip up a power-sharing agreement that his moderate Fatah faction has signed with the militant group Hamas, which does not recognise Israel's right to exist.