Germany's chancellor told Israel's prime minister on Thursday that overcoming the stalemate in the Middle East peace process "is more urgent than ever" given the current regional turmoil.
Talks have to resume and progress must be made to ensure the viable and peaceful coexistence of Israel and a future Palestinian state, Angela Merkel said after meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu said his government is determined to "re-engage, renew the negotiations" with the Palestinians, but cannot make concessions on the country's security.
"Our security requirements are fundamental ... for the achievement of peace, but they're particularly important now in this uncertain period that we're going through," he said.
Netanyahu said is was far from certain how the upheaval in the Arab world would play out _ but Israel hopes it will "move toward progress, modernity and democracy, and not toward medievalism and theocracy."
"We can't be sure because we don't know if this is a 1989 change in Europe or the 1979 revolution in Iran," he said. "We hope that is the first and not the second."
Merkel, however, stressed that the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations has to be overcome as the political landscape in the region rapidly changes.
"I believe that progress in the Mideast peace process is urgent amid the many upheavals in the region. I would say: more urgent than ever," the chancellor said.
Israeli officials on Wednesday expressed concern that Germany, France and Britain will push later this month for the "Quartet" of Mideast peacemakers _ the European Union, the United Nations, Russia and the United States _ to endorse the principle of a future Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders, which would include virtually all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
But, asked about that, Merkel did not mention the pre-1967 borders.
"The goal is important. We need a two state solution with border security and mutual recognition of borders," she said, stressing that the Quartet has an important role to play in the peace process.
Just minutes after the news conference, a Palestinian anti-tank missile struck a school bus in southern Israel, wounding two people, one critically.
The Palestinians have said they won't resume talks with the hardline Netanyahu unless there's a clear framework and Israel halts all settlement construction in Israeli-occupied lands they want for their state.
Netanyahu argues that spelling out the end point would limit Israel's negotiating room and that endorsing Palestinian positions on borders would remove a key incentive for them to restart talks.
Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Netanyahu has said he would not give up east Jerusalem, the Palestinians' hoped-for capital, and has not said how much of the West Bank he is prepared to give up.
Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, said this week that Britain, France and Germany believe negotiations should be based on "1967 borders, with land swaps, a just settlement for refugees and Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states."
Netanyahu and Merkel also stressed the importance of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and Merkel condemned Tehran's oppression of pro-democracy advocates.
"Iran saw the first pro-democracy movement (in the region) and it was brutally oppressed, we also have to recall that," she said.
After leaving Berlin, Netanyahu was to hold talks later Thursday in Prague with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas.
Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.