Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that only his Likud party can forge real and lasting peace with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu said that any future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will be based on two things: the acceptance of the Jewish people's right to a homeland, and effective security arrangements on the ground.
"We will not be satisfied with papers and promises," Netanyahu told Likud party members at a toast to ring in the Jewish New Year. "We will not allow the firing of thousands of rockets and missiles from Palestinian territories into Israel as was the case when we pulled out of Lebanon and Gaza. That is not peace… We want real agreements on the ground that ensure the security of Israel and its citizens."
Netanyahu made his remarks ahead of his departure on Tuesday for Washington, where direct peace talks with the Palestinians are set to start on Thursday.
The prime minister assured his fellow party members, "You don't need to worry; no one can teach me or my friends what it means to love Israel. Who knows better than you what Likud is willing to do to achieve eternal peace? Real peace is not the break between wars or the break between one terror attack and the next."
Netanyahu went on to say, "Real peace lasts for generations, as we saw in the agreement Likud forged with Egypt under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin."
Israel strives for a stable peace agreement that promises success to it and its neighbors, and if possible to the rest of the Arab world, Netanyahu said in his address.
"I am not naïve, but I believe that a permanent peace agreement is an attainable goal," said Netanyahu. "It is not dependent entirely on us, but I intend to give the time and effort required to achieve this. I hope to meet a courageous partner like Sadat was to Begin on the Palestinian side."
Netanyahu also addressed Israel's Arabs citizens in his address, saying, "We want you as a part of Israel, want a full partnership to develop your communities, to improve your education…so every boy and girl will be able to compete in modern society."
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