PM: We're in unstable region, hope quiet will return

Netanyahu: Lesson from Tunis, Beirut is to connect security and peace; Qaddafi tells Tunisians they moved too quickly to oust President Ben Ali.

Netanyahu leaning 311 (photo credit: Emile Salman)
Netanyahu leaning 311
(photo credit: Emile Salman)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the Sunday cabinet meeting addressed the civil uprising in Tunisia that forced a 25-year dictator to flee the country over the weekend. Netanyahu said, "We are monitoring developments," referring also to the past week's instability in Lebanon.
The prime minister continued: "The region in which we live is unstable," adding, "We see this at several points throughout the Middle East.  I would say that there is a great island of instability in the geographic expanse in which we live." Netanyahu said, "We hope that there will be quiet and security."
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Connecting the crises in Beirut and Tunis to a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said: "If there is one conclusion, one clear lesson that arises from all that we see around us, it is that we need to lay the foundations of security in any agreement that we make." The prime minister continued, "We cannot simply say 'We are signing a peace agreement', close our eyes and say 'We did it' because we do not know with any clarity that the peace will indeed be honored."
Also on Sunday, Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom said he feared that the toppling of the Tunisian government marks the state's movement towards extremism, reported Army Radio.
"The question arises whether the state will maintain its character, and now there is a risk that Islamist movements that were banished by [Tunisian President] Ben Ali will try to go back there," he said.
Arab leaders also addressed developments in Tunisia. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on Saturday said that the bloodshed and disorder taking place in Tunisia is a result of its people being in too much of a hurry to get rid of exiled Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Reuters reported.
"I am very pained by what is happening in Tunisia," Qaddafi said in a speech reported quoted by Reuters.
"Tunisia now lives in fear ... Families could be raided and slaughtered in their bedrooms and the citizens in the street killed as if it was the Bolshevik or the American revolution," the Libyan leader said.
House after the PLO's Executive Committee lauded the "unprecedented courage of the Tunisian people and their heroic sacrifices for their just rights," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas backtracked and said that the PA leadership had not taken an official stance on the situation in the North African country on Saturday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
Others in the Arab world, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah applauded the protesters in Tunisia. Palestinian Islamic Jihad congratulated the Tunisian people on obtaining freedom "through blood, sacrifices and the expression of free will," Ma'an reported.