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The Peace Process
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at his press conference with President Donald Trump at the White House, Feb. 15, 2017.
Netanyahu talked about the peace process.
“I read yesterday that an American official said that if you ask five people what two states would like, you’d get eight different answers. Mr. President, if you ask five Israelis, you’d get 12 different answers.
“But rather than deal with labels, I want to deal with substance. It’s something I’ve hoped to do for years in a world that’s absolutely fixated on labels and not on substance. So here’s the substance: There are two prerequisites for peace that I laid out two years – several years ago, and they haven’t changed.
“First, the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state. They have to stop calling for Israel’s destruction. They have to stop educating their people for Israel’s destruction.
“Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River. Because if we don’t, we know what will happen – because otherwise we’ll get another radical Islamic terrorist state in the Palestinian areas exploding the peace, exploding the Middle East.
“Now, unfortunately, the Palestinians vehemently reject both prerequisites for peace. First, they continue to call for Israel’s destruction – inside their schools, inside their mosques, inside the textbooks. You have to read it to believe it.
“They even deny, Mr. President, our historical connection to the homeland. And I suppose you have to ask yourself: Why are Jews called Jews? Well, the Chinese are called Chinese because they come from China. The Japanese are called Japanese because they come from Japan. Well, Jews are called Jews because they come from Judea. This is our ancestral homeland. Jews are not foreign colonialists in Judea.
“So, unfortunately, the Palestinians not only deny the past, they also poison the present. They name public squares in honor of mass murderers who murdered Israelis, and I have to say also murdered Americans. They pay monthly salaries to the families of murderers, like the family of the terrorist who killed Taylor Force, a wonderful young American, a West Point graduate, who was stabbed to death while visiting Israel.
“So this is the source of the conflict – the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary; this persistent rejection. That’s the reason we don’t have peace. Now, that has to change. I want it to change. Not only have I not abandoned these two prerequisites of peace; they’ve become even more important because of the rising tide of fanaticism that has swept the Middle East and has also, unfortunately, infected Palestinian society.
“So I want this to change. I want those two prerequisites of peace – substance, not labels – I want them reinstated. But if anyone believes that I, as Prime Minister of Israel, responsible for the security of my country, would blindly walk into a Palestinian terrorist state that seeks the destruction of my country, they’re gravely mistaken.
“The two prerequisites of peace – recognition of the Jewish state, and Israel’s security needs west of the Jordan – they remain pertinent. We have to look for new ways, new ideas on how to reinstate them and how to move peace forward. And I believe that the great opportunity for peace comes from a regional approach from involving our newfound Arab partners in the pursuit of a broader peace and peace with the Palestinians.”
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