PM Netanyahu presents Israel’s unequivocal political stance at the opening of the Knesset winter session

II Video: PM Netanyahu addresses Greek PM Samaras at G2G conference

PM Netanyahu presents Israel’s unequivocal political stance at the opening of the Knesset winter session

Jerusalem Online
October 14, 2013

The Knesset’s winter session began today with a festive meeting attended by many who had been invited to the House of Representatives in Jerusalem. First to speak was Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein, followed by President Peres and after that Prime Minister Netanyahu took the podium to speak about the diplomatic developments that had happened since the last session and to discuss the government’s plans for the near future.

In his speech Netanyahu addressed the 3 regional developments that he called “dramatic” that had taken place during the Knesset’s summer recess: the agreement disarming Syria of chemical weapons, the apparent talks with Iran on the nuclear issue and another revolution in Egypt.

At the start of his speech the Prime Minister spoke about Iran: “following the systematic breaches of the Security Council’s decisions, Iran is prepared to give up medium level enrichment of 20% that is no longer important to them, in return for significant easing of the sanctions. Iran is prepared to give up very little and receive a lot if not everything.”

“There is no reason to allow them to succeed with this move. There is no reason to withdraw Security Council decisions that require Iran to cancel enrichment ability and the heavy water project in Iraq – which is meant for the development of nuclear weapons. It would be a historical mistake to ease the pressure now, a moment before the sanctions achieve their goal. We must not give in to them now” Netanyahu said adding that the pressure had led to the concession trend and could bring Iran to actually give up the nuclear program.

“What would have the international response been had Syria offered to only be disarmed of 20% of their chemical weapons store and keep the rest? That is Iran’s offer exactly. As it must be made sure that Syria does not fool the international community, so Iran cannot be allowed to continue its military nuclear program. We are also working to prevent Iran from transferring dangerous weapons to Hezbollah”. He said.

The Prime Minister stressed that the State of Israel also attributes great importance to the peace with Egypt, calling it ‘an anchor of stability in the heart of the Middle East’: who else knows how important every anchor of stability is. The peace between us is founded first and foremost on concrete security arrangements and also on international understandings that we must do everything to preserve. Recent events in our region prove that the trend of radical Islam taking over is not irreversible and is not unavoidable. There is a strong will among people in the region to be rid of the extremist takeover of Iran, the Muslim Brothers and Al-Qaeda. It is a very important and historical development.”

“An agreement with Israel will not be signed without recognizing it as a Jewish state”

Only at the end of his speech – and following calls and criticism from members of the opposition, did the Prime Minister address the peace negotiations with the Palestinians: “Israel is interested in a true, stable and secure peace – and not in an arrangement that will evaporate the minute it is signed. The peace must be built on two foundations: security and mutual recognition. On the security front it is becoming more and more apparent how important our insistence is that in any arrangement, Israel will be able to defend itself on its own against any threat and not lean on foreign forces”.

As for mutual recognition, Netanyahu wondered: “How is it possible that while the Palestinians ask Israel to recognize their state they refuse to recognize the Jewish state? Why the Jewish people have existed for nearly 4000 years. What is so complicated about acknowledging that simple historical fact? The question that must be asked is not why we are making such a basic demand, but why our Palestinian neighbors are consistently adamant about not recognizing such a reasonable demand.”

The Prime Minister made it clear that any arrangement would have to end any and all historical claims on Israel, saying that it is a vital ingredient for a true peace. “I understand that the Palestinian media broadcast that Palestine sprawls from Metula to Eilat and that an agreement with Israel will be signed without recognizing the Jewish state. As I have send in a different context – the first is not true, and the second part will not be. We are making true efforts end the conflict. I do not delude myself that it will be easy, but I am determined to try.”

“This attempt will not give up on national interests for a nice headline in the newspaper or applause from the international community. Those pass quickly, but our national interests we must keep forever – and so we will”.

Video: PM Netanyahu addresses Greek PM Samaras at G2G conference

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