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Jerusalem (AFP) – Israel will seek to anchor its status as the national homeland of the Jewish people in law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.

“One of my main missions as prime minister of Israel is to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the national state of our people,” Netanyahu said in a speech in Tel Aviv, a transcript of which was provided by his office.

“To this end, it is my intention to submit a basic law to the Knesset (parliament) that would provide a constitutional anchor for Israel’s status as the national state of the Jewish people.”

Netanyahu has made recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a key demand in the crisis-hit peace talks with the Palestinians which formally drew to a close on Tuesday.

The Israeli leader placed the issue of recognition at the forefront of the talks, describing Arab rejection of the Jewish state as the “root of the conflict” in a move firmly rejected by the Palestinians.

For the Palestinians, accepting Israel as a Jewish state would mean accepting the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” that befell them when 760,000 of their people fled or were forced out of their homes in the war that accompanied Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Photo: Downing Street via Flickr

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