There will be no peace with the Palestinians until they recognize the Jewish
right to a homeland in Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday
night at Bar-Ilan University.
“A necessary condition to getting a true
solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian] conflict was and remains clear as the sun:
ending the refusal to recognize the right of the Jews to a homeland of their own
in the land of their fathers,” he said. “That is the most important key to
solving the conflict.”
Netanyahu’s words came at the start of a
conference marking 20 years since the founding of the Begin-Sadat Center for
Strategic Studies, the site of Netanyahu’s famous “Bar-Ilan speech” from four
years ago where he stated his willingness for a two-state solution.
who anticipated that he might use the same venue to again break new ground on
the Palestinian issue were disappointed.
Rather then present a “vision”
speech of where he thought the negotiations with the Palestinians were headed,
Netanyahu used the opportunity to emphasize that a Palestinian recognition of
Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people was a necessary condition to any
Since the first Arab attack on a home housing Jewish
immigrants in Jaffa in 1921, the root of the conflict has not been the
“occupation,” the “territories” or the settlements, but rather an Arab refusal
to recognize the Jews’ right to a sovereign state in their historic homeland, he
Netanyahu said that the Arab revolutions of the past two years –
which he called the most significant events in the region in 20 years – have
laid to rest the “sacred cow” that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the
heart of the instability in the Middle East.
Today, he said, it is “tough
to say this without sounding absurd.”
It is now also the time, he said,
to kill the “sacred cow” that the “occupation” was the heart of the
Netanyahu spent a number of minutes during
his address, which lasted some 30 minutes, discussing the links of the head of
the Palestinian national movement in the pre-state days – Mufti Haj Amin
al-Husseini – with the Nazis. He reminded his listeners that the mufti visited
Adolf Hitler in 1941 and promised his aid in getting Muslims to enlist in the SS
in the Balkan states, and in the Nazi propaganda efforts.
said, is still an admired figure among Palestinians.
“That is what needs
to be uprooted,” he said.
Netanyahu brought up the mufti, however, more
to refute comments Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made in New York two weeks
ago than to slam the current Palestinian leadership.
During a television
interview, Rouhani acknowledged Nazi crimes against Jews, though he would not
use the word “Holocaust.”
Netanyahu pointed out that Rouhani then quickly
pointed out that it was forbidden to let the Zionists exploit the Nazi crimes to
oppress the Palestinians.
“Despite what Iranian representatives and
others say,” the prime minister said, “Zionist leaders did not use the Holocaust
to destroy the Palestinian national movement.
The opposite is true. The
leader of the Palestinian movement at that time, Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, is
the one who preached and worked to carry out the Holocaust to destroy the
“And it almost worked,” Netanyahu said. “European Jewry
was destroyed, with the help of the mufti, but Zionism was not destroyed; Israel
The goal of Iran today was to control the Middle East
and beyond, and to “destroy the State of Israel. That is not speculation, that
is the goal,” he said.
Repeating arguments he made last week at the UN,
Netanyahu dismissed the notion that Iran was merely seeking nuclear energy for
peaceful means, saying that countries that want to harness nuclear energy for
civilian needs do not insist on enriching uranium and building plutonium
reactors, elements not needed for civilian nuclear purposes but only to build
“The international community’s position toward Iran
needs to be: We are willing to come to a diplomatic solution – but only one that
will dismantle from Iran its capabilities to develop nuclear weapons. That means
no centrifuges for enriching uranium and no plutonium reactor,” he
Earlier in the day, at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu
stressed he was not against diplomacy with Iran, but rather wanted to ensure
that negotiations with Iran will lead it to a halt of uranium
Netanyahu, in his first meeting with his cabinet since
meeting US President Barack Obama in Washington and saying a day later at the UN
General Assembly last week that Israel would “stand alone” against Iran if need
be, said he had a long, in-depth conversation with Obama about Iran and that
they agree on the need to halt the Islamic Republic’s uranium
“Iran claims that it wants this capability for nuclear energy
for peaceful needs,” he said. “Seventeen countries in the world produce nuclear
energy for peaceful needs without one centrifuge or enriching
Netanyahu, who only recently began publicly saying that the
sanctions on Iran were making a serious dent, said that the sanctions were
“working,” and were “just a moment before achieving their
Sanctions must not be removed before Iran dismantles its
enrichment capabilities, he said.