The country’s position in the international community is changing fundamentally because of the world’s need for Israeli technology and anti-terrorist expertise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday at the annual Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.
“Israel is in the midst of a historic revolution in its place among the nations,” he said.
“That revolution is born of a fundamental change of global economics.”
The rapid change of the world’s economy to a technologically driven one plays to Israel’s strengths, Netanyahu said. “Israel is right in the nexus of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence. That affects everything. Nothing remains without technology. Nothing.”
The premier’s only reference to the Palestinian issue during his nearly 25-minute address came when he said that in his meetings with world leaders, after security and economic issues are discussed, his interlocutors always ask what they can do on the Palestinian issue.
“I say, ‘Yes,’ you can help, there is one thing you have to do, it is the acid test, invite me and Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to a meeting right now, in your capital. I am willing to come,” he said.
Netanyahu said that those he meets generally get “very excited, and then they start passing notes to each other,” but quickly become disappointed when the message comes back from Ramallah that the time is not right, and that there are Palestinian preconditions.
“By the time we finish this round with hundreds of world leaders – prime ministers, presidents, foreign ministers – everybody gets the message: Israel is ready for peace, Israel is not the obstacle for peace, Israel wants to move ahead with peace. And who gets that message best? The Arab states,” he stated.
Netanyahu repeated that the paradigm of peacemaking needs to be changed, and instead of thinking that a breakthrough will be reached with the Palestinians, and from that will come peace with the Arab world, the order needs to be reversed.
“Our relations with the Arab world are rapidly changing,” he said. “More and more countries and people in the region don’t see Israel as an enemy, but as an indispensable ally” in the common battle against radical Islamic terrorism.
While this change may not be reflected in formal comments coming from Arab governments, “you see it reflected in the blogosphere” and “in the Arab Internet,” the prime minister said.
In addition to the traditional slander against Israel that has been going on in the Arab world for seven decades, “you see sparks of change, people saying maybe we have to reevaluate our attitude toward the Jewish people and the Jewish state,” he said.