Speaking strongly against the establishment of a Palestinian state, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said, “Jews have had a connection to the land of Israel before anyone else was walking on this land,” in remarks on Sunday at The Jerusalem Post annual conference in New York.
A Palestinian state would place a direct security risk on all the citizens of Israel, Akunis said. “We don’t need another terrorist state in the Middle East. Israel needs stable and defensible borders... I promise you, so long as I am elected in my country, a Palestinian state will not be created.”
Shimon Peres, for years, spoke of a new Middle East, said Akunis. Indeed there a “new” one has developed, but only for the worse, as more and more organizations deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its homeland. It is an Arab winter and not an Arab spring, he insisted.
Akunis denounced attempts made by enemies of Israel to “rewrite history. Most of the lies come from terror-supporting states.” Among the main lies is that “Palestinians are ruled by Israel,” he said, adding, “the truth is that the Palestinians have been ruling themselves for 23 years already. They run their educational system, health care, security, financial system, justice and the media, under the Palestinian Authority.”
But, said Akunis, the PA uses its influence to glorify violence and death. “Their textbooks are filled with hatred for the Jews and Israelis,” he said.
The minister praised Israel’s bright minds and its contributions to the world as being a “great breeding ground for science, technology and innovation. Compare this to the rest of the Middle East,” Akunis said, and added that he hoped to meet the new US Ambassador David Friedman “in a new embassy in Jerusalem.”
Israel is “ready and willing for peace, but each time we reach out, the terrorists spill more of our blood,” Akunis said. “They must be stopped. I want my children to grow up with peaceful neighbors,” but unfortunately, it is not happening.”
There are no countries in the Middle East who live by the values of democracy, Akunis said. “Instead of fighting with Israel, Arab countries and Palestinians should see us as role model. We want real peace... Israel has no better ally than the US, and the US has no better ally than Israel.”