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Netanyahu clarifies Israel’s position on Iran and Palestinian state

By Missing Peace

Netanyahu INSS

On Tuesday January 28th Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu delivered an important speech at the INSS Annual Conference.

Israel’s PM addressed three issues:

1) Iran
2) Palestinian State
3) Global economy and Israel

On Iran, Netanyahu said that the regime in Tehran remains very close to a nuclear weapon. He again called the Geneva agreement a bad agreement that delayed the Iranian nuclear program by six weeks. He also said that Iran continues to fool the West. For example when  president Rouhani  addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos recently, he said that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Netanyahu ridiculed Rouhani ‘s statement and said:

“Iran has directly invested at least 40 billion dollars in its nuclear
facilities and nuclear program, and an additional 140 billion dollars as the
cost of the sanctions. A country does not invest nearly 200 billion dollars
in nuclear energy for peaceful purposes when it is so rich in other sources
of natural energy. So clearly, and everyone understands this, I must say –
the entire world understands this, even those who smile back at the smiles
they receive. Everyone understands that Iran wants and aspires to acquire
nuclear weapons, and we will only support an agreement that guarantees the
complete dismantling of Iran’s infrastructure and capabilities for military
nuclear weapons.

Amos, I heard you say here that you do not sleep at night and that the
Iranian issue occupies your thoughts: I can promise you that you can sleep a
little better because this issue occupies my thoughts every day, all day.
Another thing I can promise all of you: we will not let Iran develop its
capability to produce nuclear weapons. This was and remains Israel’s policy.

Now of course the Iranian threat is not just an unconventional threat; it is
also a conventional threat which mainly focuses on missiles and rockets
brought to the Iranian enclave which surrounds us, in an attempt to strangle
us from two sides, from Lebanon and from Gaza”.

About the current negotiations about the establishment of a Palestinian state Netanyahu made clear that there will be no state for the Palestinians as long as they do not recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. He also said that the continuing incitement against Israel in Palestinian society made it necessary for Israel to demand robust security arrangements.

Below are some of Netanyahu’s remarks on the issue of a Palestinian state:

“The Americans are working to
formulate the American positions, if they do. But I would like to emphasize
that they are not Israeli positions, but rather American ones.

Israel does not have to agree to anything the Americans present, but we
insist on two fundamental things – on many things, but I would like to
emphasize two of them here today – in the negotiations with the
Palestinians. The first is, of course, recognition of the Jewish state or
the nation-state of the Jewish people. I would like to explain the reason
for our insistence on this issue, because it is at the root of the conflict.
This conflict has gone on for nearly 100 years. The date I choose to mark
for its beginning is 1920, 1921 – one year after my late grandfather arrived
in Jaffa. When he arrived, he made his way to the Jewish immigration office.
In 1921, rioting Palestinian Arabs attacked that office; they attacked in
Jaffa. There were no settlers there; there were no settlers as they are
defined today. There were no territories. There was a basic objection to any
Jewish presence, an opposition that grew and resulted in the attacks in 1929
in Hebron and of course the great riots of 1936-1939.

This struggle, which continued through the War of Independence and
afterwards until 1967 – this struggle was not over the territories of Judea,
Samaria and Gaza. Those were in Arab hands. This struggle was against the
very existence of the Jewish state, against Zionism or any geographic
expression of it, any State of Israel in any border. The conflict is not
over these territories; it is not about settlements; and it is not about a
Palestinian state either. The Zionist movement agreed to recognize a
Palestinian state during the partition plan, and various governments also
agreement later on to recognize a Palestinian state. But this conflict has
gone on because of one reason: the stubborn opposition to recognize the
Jewish state, the nation-state of the Jewish people. To end the conflict,
they must recognize that in our land, this land, in the Jewish homeland,
there are two peoples.

When we speak of an agreement, we speak of an agreement in which we are
asked by the world and by the Palestinians to recognize the Palestinian
nation-state. Can it be that they will not be asked to recognize the Jewish
nation-state? After all, we are not strangers in this land or to this land;
we have been here continuously for nearly 4,000 years – 3,800 years. This is
the land where our identity was forged; this is our homeland; here is our
country which was reborn. And the Palestinians must accept this. Otherwise,
what we are being asked to do is allow for the establishment of a
Palestinian state which will continue subvert the foundation for the
existence of the Jewish state, which will try to flood us with refugees,
which will advance irredentist claims from within the State of Israel’s
territory, territorial claims, national claims. And we say that the solution
is two nation-states and mutual recognition of them.

It cannot be that Israel will be asked to complete one side of the equation
and the Palestinians will not be asked to complete the other side of the
equation. This is absurd. And therefore our first and most unshakable demand
is recognition. Ending the conflict means not only waiving the right of
return, but first and foremost recognition of the nation-state of the Jewish
people, recognition of the Jewish state. If you wish, I would say that this
is the first foundation for peace between us and the Palestinians.

Now, since you know very well that throughout these 90 years there was and
continues to be unceasing incitement against the State of Israel – against
the Zionist movement before the establishment of the country and then,
without any difference between them, it continued both in the Palestinian
Authority and in the Hamas. Actually, there is one difference: Hamas uses
terror and the PA doesn’t and that is important. But incitement and
non-acceptance of the State of Israel unfortunately continue in both places.
We see it in school books; we see it in schools; we see it in the
Palestinian media, which as you know is controlled by the Palestinian
government; we see this also in mosques, in sermons, in things that are
regrettably said by Palestinian leaders internally.

Therefore, alongside the demand that I would say is an essential condition,
although it is not enough to recognize the Jewish state because we cannot be
sure that this recognition would take root in Palestinian society which has
experienced and continues to experience this methodical incitement. And that
is why there must also be robust security arrangements. These security
arrangements must also include long-term IDF presence along the Jordan River
and other security arrangements that fundamentally rest on the State of
Israel, the IDF and Israel’s defense system”.

You can read the full text of  Netanyahu’s Remarks at the INSS Annual Conference  here: