'Netanyahu's words prove Israel isn't interested in peace'

PM lays out diplomatic message he is expected to bring to Washington; says Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel is root of conflict.

May 16, 2011 22:38
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Knesset

Netanyahu addresses Knesset 311. (photo credit: Moshe Milner / GPO)


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The Palestinian Authority rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic address to the Knesset on Monday, saying the statements were unacceptable and constituted “preconditions.”

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that peace requires that east Jerusalem become the capital of the state of Palestine and that all final-status issues be solved at the negotiating table and in accordance with the road map and international laws.

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“Netanyahu’s statements prove once again that Israel is not interested in peace and that it continues to challenge the international community,” Abu Rudaineh said. “But that won’t stop the Palestinian people from demanding their full rights, including going to the UN.”

Earlier Monday, Netanyahu said that the events of Nakba Day proved that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "not a conflict on 1967 but a conflict on 1948, and on the right of Israel to exist."

Speaking at the opening of the Knesset's Summer Session and commemorating the anniversary of Theodore Herzl's death, Netanyahu put forth what is widely believed to be the diplomatic message he will take to Washington, where he is scheduled to address the US Congress later this week.

He stated that a Palestinian leadership which refuses to recognize Israel is responsible for preventing peace. "We must stop blaming ourselves," Netanyahu stated.

The prime minister said that the majority of Israeli's support his diplomatic vision, setting out a number of points which were widely agreed upon.

First, that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jews. Secondly, that any peace agreement with the Palestinians should end the conflict and all future Palestinian claims on land. Third, that no refugees be allowed to return to Israeli territory. Fourth, that a Palestinian state must be formed with Israel's security arrangements in mind, including a continued Israeli military presence along the Jordan River. Fifth, large settlement blocs must  remain part of Israel. And, lastly, Jerusalem would remain the undivided capital of Israel.

Netanyahu said that in addition to these points, the majority of Israelis were united in their belief that Israel's borders must be defended, the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan must be kept intact and Iran's nuclear weapons program must be kept in check.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni spoke following Netanyahu, slamming the prime minister for not having a diplomatic vision.

"In a number of months a Palestinian State on the 1967 borders will be declared and the prime minister is going to the United States with no vision or plan of action," Livni stated.

"On this day we are united to defend Israel's sovereignty. Israel's leadership must act to thwart those that do not accept its existence," she stated.

Livni listed Iran's nuclear program and those who attempted to infiltrate Israel's borders during Sunday's Nakba Day as challenges that must be faced.

The opposition leader added that "leadership is not only expecting and warning" against these dangers, but rather "thinking of solutions, and this government has failed in giving answers."

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