(photo credit: )
Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu promised the Palestinians on Sunday night that if he will be elected prime minister, he will be willing to make compromises and offer them concessions without sacrificing Israel's security.
Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Netanyahu said that he would begin by removing settlement outposts and then gradually remove IDF checkpoints to allow unhindered Palestinian travel. He said that a Likud-led government would not be in favor of reoccupying or annexing Palestinian populated areas of Judea and Samaria.
"In the frameworks of a peace agreement, a government under my leadership would agree to make real territorial concessions but will not compromise our security borders," Netanyahu said. "We want there to be less friction. We want to remove outposts to help the Palestinian population. We will not reoccupy the Palestinian population."
Netanyahu outlined five points that will be the guidelines in the Likud's platform on diplomatic and security issues: "Yes to compromises within a peace agreement, yes to security borders, no to a unilateral withdrawal, yes to moving the security fence and yes to decreasing the friction with the Palestinians."
The Likud's "security borders" include the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights, Judean desert, an undivided Jerusalem, settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, and the hilltops overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport
, the Gush Dan region and Road 443.
Netanyahu said that he would be willing to negotiate a permanent-status accord with a responsible Palestinian leadership while sticking to those borders on the basis of reciprocity. Any agreement reached with the Palestinians would then be brought to a vote among the Israeli people in a national referendum.
As reported exclusively in Sunday's Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu said that he would favor shifting the security fence to ensure that Ben-Gurion Airport, Road 443 and Road Six would not be in the range of missiles. Netanyahu said that a buffer zone would also be needed near the Dead Sea
to respond to the security threat from the east.
Netanyahu's associates said that shifting the fence would require legal action. They said that the fence has been moved from the route recommended by security officials because the Supreme Court relied on international law in lieu of Israeli laws. Netanyahu wants the law changed to give the Supreme Court the means to accept the original route.
Lashing out at the two parties that a Likud spokesman on Sunday called "Siamese twins," Netanyahu said that both Labor and Kadima
see the 1967 borders as their endgame with only minor adjustments. He said that by contrast, the Likud believes that withdrawing to the 1967 borders would perpetuate the conflict.
"The government's policies have strengthened Hamas
and weakened the Palestinian Authority
," Netanyahu said. "Reciprocity rewards those who behave positively and punishes those who violate agreements."
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