Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian Authority to
"give peace a chance" and "not to miss this unique opportunity" for
peace on Tuesday night at the Institute for National Security Studies
Netanyahu said that while he desires
peace and Israel has extended its hand, its desire for peace "is not
To prove his point about the difficulty of achieving peace, Netanyahu noted that while many have encouraged Israel to reconcile with Turkey after an extended period of diplomatic clashes, Turkey just issued arrest warrants for former IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and a number of other important IDF commanders involved in decisions regarding the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
The prime minister also pointed out that even achieving peace with the Palestinians would not solve Israel's problems with all of its neighbors in the dangerous region that is the Middle East.
Still, Netanyahu said he remains committed to achieving peace both because it is a basic need and to prevent a bi-national state.
He said that Israel "does not want to rule the Palestinians" and "does not want them as citizens." He emphasized that he had already publicly expressed support for the two state solutions at least three times.
Netanyahu said that he had no preconditions, but at the same time believed that the Israeli consensus supporting peace demanded specific recognition of Israel as the Jewish national home (and not merely the general recognition previously given by the PA of Israel's as a state as part of the Oslo Accords.)
He also mentioned that reciprocal security arrangements would not be in name only, but would be seriously reviewed to ensure that there was "real security on the ground."
With regard to Iran, Netanyahu said it is not enough for Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent. Uranium enriched to 3.5% is "a lower number," but represents a "large proportion of the uranium" that Iran possesses and which could be used for a bomb.
In essence, Netanyahu argued that removing 20% enriched uranium would reduce the quality of Iran's uranium, but that when it comes to producing uranium for a bomb, quantity is very important.
Former IDF intelligence
chief Amos Yadlin Maj. Gen (res.), Head of the INSS, said Israel is
facing "extraordinary" events and threats, said at a major Tuesday
night conference. Yadlin mentioned that his institute had organized the conference around five main issues, including: the Iranian nuclear threat, Arab uprisings across the Middle East, relations with the US and the relationship of the security budget to new economic priorities following the social protest movement.
He suggested that it was critical to try any third alternative to solve the Iranian nuclear issue besides Iran "getting the bomb" or Israel "bombing them." The Iran working group discussed several "third-way" alternatives and also put forward ideas about how to strategically handle the "day after" should Israel attack Iran.
Adressing the Arab uprisings, Yadlin noted that unpredictable developments in some nations could "challenge peaceful relations."
He also surveyed the status of threats emanating from Gaza, including the potential for new outbreaks of violence, and Syria, noting the ongoing and "ferocious civil war."
Yadlin called Israel an "island of stability and prosperity" in an unstable region.
Some of the biggest names in Israeli defense and policy are set to speak Tuesday and Wednesday at the conference, and The Jerusalem Post is streaming it live.
This year's conference theme, "Israel's Search for Opportunities in a Turbulent Region," hones in on the major challenges, threats and opportunities facing the Jewish state as uprisings, revolutions and elections take place in neighboring countries, and Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Speakers will include Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg among many other politicians, top military brass and academic luminaries.
Tuesday's full schedule can be viewed here, and Wednesday's here