'A democratic Egypt does not threaten peace'

Netanyahu expresses hopes that "efforts for democracy come true," tells Abbas to "see the changes in the region as a chance to negotiate."

netanyahu knesset speech 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
netanyahu knesset speech 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said during a speech at the Knesset that an "Egypt enshrined in democratic values will not constitute any threat to peace, but the opposite."
"The optimistic scenario is that these efforts for democracy and peace come true, but this is not the only scenario because Teheran is hoping for something else," the prime minister said.
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Netanyahu stressed that "Iran's leaders are not interested in the aspirations of the citizens of Egypt."
He added that the current demonstrations in Egypt may effect peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, saying: "I hope that [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] will see the changes in the region as an opportunity and even a push to sit with us and negotiate in a way the considers how these events influence Israel and the Palestinian Authority."
"We would like to have a real discussion on the way to have stable peace in an unstable region, that will last despite all the ups and downs in this area," Netanyahu said, emphasizing that Israel and the PA need "realistic peace in the realistic situation that has been created."
The Prime Minister also took issue with those who blame the Israeli government for the breakdown of peace talks.
"If we continue do blame ourselves, then why is it surprising that the world blames us?" he asked. "We are prepared and want to continue the peace process with the Palestinians."
Netanyahu added: "A peace agreement - a piece of paper - does not ensure that there will be peace or a partner for negotiations. An agreement needs to be guarded, and we need to be protected in case it is broken or if there's a change on the other side."
"Disagreements can only be resolved through direct negotiations, and not unilateral steps," Netanyahu said.
He also explained that me made "a major effort to ease the Palestinian economic situation, not because it is a replacement for peace talks, but because it helps stability and tells the Palestinian population that there is a lot to earn from peace."
"I plan to take further steps to encourage development and growth of the Palestinian economy," Netanyahu said.
In response, Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni said: "Egypt is undergoing great changes, and we all hope that the peace with Egypt will continue to be preserved in the future."
"I suspect that the Prime Minister will do what he usually does, which is to take advantage of uncertainty to raise our fear and suspicions," Livni added.
"Your talk of peace does not bring it closer - you need to do, not speak," Livni said. "You are unable to make decisions, or get the process moving."
Livni also criticized the government for its handling of the Galant affair, and for the rise in housing prices.