The idea that the Palestinian are interested in moving forward on the peace process, but Israel is not, is one of two widely- held politically correct misconceptions, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday.
Netanyahu, in a private meeting, said Israel is ready for substantive negotiations and has taken significant steps to launch them, but the Palestinians have simply refused to engage.
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A number of US and Palestinian diplomatic officials have said over the last few days that Netanyahu is unwilling to present a map of where he thinks the final borders should be drawn, and has even refused to receive a Palestinian version of the map.
While not confirming this, Israeli officials say Netanyahu believes that the question of borders cannot be divorced from other key core issues, such as security and Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
In Netanyahu’s view, it is impossible to talk about borders without knowing whether a future Palestinian state will be demilitarized, and whether an Israeli presence will be stationed along the Jordan River.
The second misconception, Netanyahu said at Thursday’s meeting, was one he said was exposed by the WikiLeaks cables – namely, that it is necessary to move on the Palestinian track in order to get the Arabs to move on the Iranian issue.
Israel wants to make progress on the Palestinian track because it wants peace, Netanyahu said, but the idea that this needs to be done to tackle Iran has been proven as a politically correct non-starter.
Netanyahu also stressed during the meeting that any final accord must include an Israeli security presence on the Jordan River to prevent the type of arms smuggling from Jordan into the West Bank that Israel has seen from Sinai into Gaza, or from Syria to Hizbullah in Lebanon.
Asked if an international force could not do the job, Netanyahu said
international forces have worked in places like Japan and Germany, when
they were not under attack. But these forces are not effective, he said,
in places where there is an attack on the force, or where they have to
deal with ongoing hostilities. As proof, Netanyahu pointed to how public
opinion has turned in countries with a contingent in Afghanistan when
those soldiers have been shot at and killed.
It is clear, Netanyahu said, that any force designed to prevent the
smuggling of arms to terrorists would come under attack by terrorists
who wanted to get those arms. Only Israelis, he said, could be counted
on to effectively do the job.