Palestinians have decided not to embrace the path of peace, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday at a ceremony marking the 63rd anniversary of the Knesset.
"We said they need to choose between the path of Hamas and the path of peace," he said, but concluded that Palestinians had chosen to embrace "terrorist organizations that call for Israel's destruction."Every country has extremists, Netanyahu continued, but the question is how the government reacts to them. Israel responded swiftly and harshly to extremist agendas such as women's exclusion, he said.
"I know that there are those that argue that Israel's democracy is in danger. I disagree with them," he said, touting Israel's protection of minority rights without regard to race, sex and religion.
Looking outward, Netanyahu argued that Israel had never succumbed to limiting privacy rights the way the United States and United Kingdom had in times of war. Closer to home, Netanyahu addressed the nascent democracies of the Arab Spring, emphasizing that "real democracy is about what happens between elections."
"We all hope that real democracies will arise" in neighboring Arab countries, he said, "not one-time democracy."
It is still too early to tell if "serious, respectable instutions will arise to maintain democracy," Netanyahu said.