Netanyahu at Herzliya conference: We will negotiate on the basis of mutuality

netanyahu arms spread (photo credit: AP)
netanyahu arms spread
(photo credit: AP)
The following is a summary of Binyamin Netanyahu's January 22, 2005 policy address before the Herzliya conference The absolutely necessary condition for peace is maintaining security. Peace without security is an illusion and therefore the critical crossroads we are facing today and in the coming years deal with determining of secure borders for Israel. These borders must include the Jordan rift valley, greater Jerusalem, the areas overlooking the central bloc (Gush Dan) and roads 443 and 6. As Prime Minister I will strive towards negotiations with a Palestinian partner that absolves himself of terrorism and fights it. We will negotiate with such a partner on the basis of mutuality. We will be ready and willing to make great sacrifices but not with regards to our security. Within a comprehensive peace settlement there will be great sacrifices by both sides but again, not regarding the security of Israel. I will strive to keep our strategic alliance with the United States. But what will happen without a Palestinian partner? The parties to the left of us, Labor and Kadima, are planning unilateral negotiations. Of course prior to the elections they are attempting to blur these intentions. But such a withdrawal will give terrorism a boost. Even without a Palestinian partner we will act differently, quickly and decisively to set Israel's borders while including our strategic assets. The Hamas may take over and we will move the security fence eastwards, back to its original route that the Defense Ministry set. With or without a partner, we will strive to achieve a separation of the populaces, Israeli and Palestinian. We will reduce roadblocks, enable more freedom of movement and we will not go back to controlling centers of Palestinian population. The decision facing us is not a demographic one but one of secure borders, or a reverse back to the 1967 borders. If we do reach a comprehensive settlement I will bring the decision for ratification by the people of Israel in a national referendum. I say no to a unilateral withdrawal, yes to a reduction of the friction between us and the Palestinians. But security is vital. We will bring security and prosper, but if we do not bring security we will not get anywhere. There is in our area an inherent instability with hostile and dangerous Muslim entities around us. We must recognize opportunities and risks. We must nurture our national strength in order to deter our enemies. The three basic and essential building blocks are security, economy and the Jewish heritage. Security is the key for peace, the economy is vital for security and the Jewish heritage is our reason for being here and staying here. The continuation of unilateral withdrawal without receiving anything must stop; it weakens those who want to negotiate. The Arab street recognizes that Israel is under the strain of terrorism. There is no settlement, there is no progress but there is a withdrawal. The Arab street answers the question: it perceives that the Hamas is responsible for the unilateral withdrawal and the support for Hamas increases. This dynamic is occurring now, right before our eyes. This policy has an alternative, that of mutuality. In business there are no free lunches, and this is also true with politics, there can be no free withdrawals. The policy of mutuality works both ways. He who acts positively will receive goodwill in kind. He who acts negatively receives negativity back. In moderate agreements that I negotiated there were modest returns for the Palestinians. The result of policies that I was responsible for as Prime Minister culminated in the quietest period of the last decade. The reason for this success is predicated on the policies we employed, regarding security, foreign policy and mutuality. The difference is the policy. We must abandon the policy of unilateral withdrawal. The conditions for a partner are first and foremost an active and aggressive policy against terrorist organizations. The weakening of the PA and the rise of the Hamas weakens us. In the face of a potential Hamas state in the West Bank we need to establish security borders. What are these? The labor party wants a withdrawal to the 1967 borders with slight modifications and so does Kadima, though they are blurring their intentions. The basic assumption of both is that if we withdraw we will stabilize our security. I reject this. The 1967 lines aren't secure borders and they will not weaken terrorism but increase it. The extremist Palestinian factions do not accept these borders. The Islamic Jihad and the Hamas accept the water line as the desired line, as does the Iranian president. Such that even if we do reach the 1967 lines in any settlement, there is doubt that this will stay a secure border for long. The temptation for an attack will be great. In a withdrawal without compensation under the pressure of terrorism we will only be faced with an even greater degradation of our security. We must abandon the principle of unilateral withdrawal. The strategic core of Israel is greater Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and what lies between them, roads 443 and 6. We mustn't leave these areas susceptible to any sort of terrorism. A government with me at the helm will distance the fence to the original route the Defense Ministry set. There is the assumption that there will always be longer-ranged missiles but as soon as the terrorist organizations fire even one shoulder-launched missile at an Israeli plane, the situation will be even more difficult. We must keep our citizens safe. Life precedes everything else. The demographic question does not exist. We must keep buffer zones which are almost void of an Arab populace. The maintenance of the strategic core, fortifying secure borders and completing the security fence around settlement blocs are key. There must be a dismantling of illegal settlements and the Likud will support this even if carried out by the current interim government prior to the elections. Also, we must reduce roadblocks and our forces in the Palestinian towns and cities. We have no intentions of returning to control Palestinian cities. Obviously negotiations entail great sacrifices on both sides. The means I have described will contribute to security for both sides. When a terrorist attack is prevented, we are also avoiding an Israeli reprisal. The Iranian threat: All of Israel's governments of the last few years have agreed that Israel will not accept a nuclear Iran. A word of advice to my friends in the government: In the words of former US President Roosevelt, "speak softly and carry a big stick." Regarding the economy, the key to growth is the continuation of reform policies which are vital to economic growth. I concentrated today on the security aspect but I also mentioned the importance of nurturing our Jewish heritage. We must strengthen the basic foundations; develop a unique educational system such that every Israeli child will know the Bible, Mishna, Jewish history, Jewish literature and poetry. There is a very unique cultural reservoir and it is imperative because it defines what ties us to this land. If we nurture and develop these pillars we will maintain our values, and ourselves.