'J'lem pullout threatens Israel'

Netanyahu also says unilateral withdrawals are building "a basis for militant Islam at our doorstep."

Netanyahu kotel 224 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Netanyahu kotel 224 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The current Israeli government is pursuing a "virtual peace" rather than a "genuine peace" and by advocating a withdrawal from east Jerusalem is bringing Israel closer to the possibility of being forced out of the region, Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday. "We want a genuine peace and not a virtual peace where the current government is convincing itself that it is bringing peace closer," Netanyahu said at the 34th annual Leadership Mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem. "Any program that fabricates a virtual peace will ultimately crash, but we are committed to a genuine peace." Netanyahu added that the foundation of any future peace agreement should be the hope generated by economic growth. "In order to bring about a real peace, there are a number of steps that we must take. Creating an economic peace creates real hope - it gives people jobs and it gives people hope" Netanyahu lambasted Israel's pullout from Lebanon in 2000, orchestrated by then-prime minister Ehud Barak and the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, warning that Israel should not expect future withdrawals to bring different results. "We shouldn't build a basis for militant Islam at our doorstep. This is what successive Israeli governments have done by quickly withdrawing from Lebanon and from Gaza," the opposition leader said. "The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza has in no way advanced our security or brought us any closer to a real peace." "If we withdraw from Jerusalem, a possibility that seems to be more of a reality each day, it will just put us one step closer to being forced out of the whole country," he concluded.