Netanyahu Featured Speaker at Celebration of 50-Years of 'Settlement Building'

"We will continue our efforts with the United Nations to find a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living safely side-by-side within borders recognized by the worldwide community, with Jerusalem at the capital of both states", he told a gathering of French ambassadors.

Meanwhile, in remarks that infuriated the Palestinians, Netanyahu said he will never uproot any West Bank settlement.

Palestinian leaders have continued to express their support for a two-state solution, but a State Department spokeswoman said last week the USA did not want to "bias one side over the other" in peace talks by supporting a two-state solution and no mention of it was made in official statements following a meeting last week between White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank as part of a future independent state.

Guterres also spoke on Israeli settlements in the West Bank Tuesday, calling them a "major obstacle" to peace and noting that they are "illegal under worldwide law".

At least one other Jewish lawmaker, Shuli Moalem-Refaeli of the far-right Jewish Home party, also visited on Tuesday morning, according to the Waqf, a Muslim religious organization that administers the site.

The visit, which passed peacefully, was meant to test the waters as Benjamin Netanyahu's government mulls whether to allow such visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to resume.

Israeli leaders say Palestinian "incitement" against the Jewish state is a key reason why peace efforts have not advanced. Speaking at a joint press conference in the capital Ankara after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Erdoğan said a peaceful resolution to the crisis would "also benefit the Israelis". Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since the failure of USA mediation in the spring of 2014.

Hamdallah on Tuesday said the Palestinian leadership was waiting for United States officials to formulate a clear approach.

The US president himself visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in May.

"We returned here in order to stay here forever", Netanyahu said on Monday at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israel's capture of the West Bank.

  • Rogelio Becker