Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dark 311 (R).
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO)
On the eve of a meeting of Quartet envoys in Brussels to review ways to restart
the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
said Thursday night that the end to the conflict will begin with the Palestinian
leaders uttering six simple words: “I will accept the Jewish
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Netanyahu, in a speech to the closing session of the Israeli
Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, said that peace has eluded the sides for
90 years because the Palestinians never accepted Israel’s existence in the
region, within any borders.
His comments came amid Israeli efforts to get
a clear Palestinian statement about Israel as a Jewish state front-loaded into
any formula on restarting negotiations that might mention the baseline for talks
as the 1967 lines, with mutual agreed swaps.
Noting that he had accepted
the idea of a Palestinian state in his Bar Ilan speech in 2009, Netanyahu said,
“Now I say that [PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas must do what I did two years ago:
he must stand up to his people and say, ‘I will accept the Jewish state.’”
Referring to frequent Palestinian comments that Israel can “call itself whatever
it wants,” Netanyahu stressed that the issue was not over what it calls itself,
but rather over what it is.
“They can call their state Palestine or
Arafatland,” Netanyahu said. “I’m not talking about what they call it; but what
it is. For them, it is the nation state of the Palestinian people. Israel is the
nation state of the Jewish people. This means that the Palestinians go there,
and Jews come here.”
Netanyahu said this in no way will impinge upon the
rights of Arab citizens in Israel, but that a two-state solution must end any
hope of further subdividing the Jewish state and calls for a “sub-state” for
Arabs in the Negev or Galilee.
At a speech later in the evening to the
World Zionist Organization, Netanyahu said that Theodor Herzl and the Zionist
vision spoke of settlement and development of the Jewish state in all parts of
“We are settling and developing the land – it is possible to see
towns in Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion. But we are also obligated to
develop all parts of the country – the Galilee and the Negev,” he said, using
terminology that sounded like an effort to de-emphasize construction in the
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