Israel can only conduct a policy of normalized ties with the Arab world from a position of strength, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said on Wednesday.
He was one of a number of high-level ministers who spoke at The Jerusalem Post’s annual diplomatic conference in Jerusalem.
“The pragmatic Arab states in the region recognize Israel’s capabilities” in the military and civilian spheres, said Katz.
Earlier this month he visited Oman, a Gulf Arab state which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. He spoke at a global transportation conference about his plan for a regional railway line called “Tracks for Peace,” which would link Israel with Arab states, including Oman and Saudi Arabia, through a regional hub in Jordan.
Katz told the audience in Oman that the “plan is backed by the US and is getting more and more support in and outside the region.” He added, “It is an initiative that goes beyond ideological differences. It does not contradict past or future agreements, and it can be advanced alongside them for the benefit of all sides.”
Katz joined other ministers in discussions about the importance of a military strike against Gaza as the only option on the table, in order to halt Hamas attacks against southern Israel.
He relayed that Israel must execute a harsh military strike against Hamas to restore its deterrence against the terror group that rules the Gaza enclave.
“We are now close to a no-choice war against Hamas in Gaza,” Katz said. “We must strike hard to restore deterrence. Today, the political and military service are close to reaching the same conclusion,” he said.
He explained that Yisrael Beytenu Party head Avigdor Liberman’s decision to resign over the country’s Gaza policy had “contributed to Hamas’s sense of victory.”
But Katz espoused a policy that mirrored Liberman’s, saying what was needed was a harsh military strike.
“There is no political solution to the Gaza issue and there is no such thing as a stable arrangement with Hamas,” Katz said.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>