Benjamin Netanyahu Nir Keidar 27.10.2010
Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo by Nir Keidar
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected claims that the standstill in the peace process since his government took power is the reason for the delegitimization campaign against Israel.

"There are those who believe that the motive for delegitimization is the policies of one government or another, but they are wrong," said Netanyahu.

The prime minister, who spoke before an audience of Jewish leaders and senior officials in various government ministries, said that attacks against Israel aren't based on wars or settlements, but rather are attacks against the existence of the Jewish state.

"Even if we succeed in achieving peace, the attacks on Israel's legitimacy will continue. This is because their origin isn't based on the events of 1967 or 1948," Netanyahu said. "The attacks oppose the existence of the Jewish state. We can see throughout history that the attacks have increased particularly when Israel has used its right to defend itself."

Netanyahu said that Israel must act against delegitimization by showing the international community what Israel has contributed to the world and also "delegitimize those who delegitimize us."

Netanyahu, however, did express hope for achieving peace with Israel's neighbors.

"The search for peace is important and my government will continue to act toward it. We want peace, because we do not want war."

Meanwhile, two senior U.S. officials arrived in Israel on Sunday in order to conduct peace talks in Ramallah and Jerusalem in an effort to advance the peace process.

The two officials are Dan Shapiro, Washington's National Security Council Middle East Senior Director, and U.S. diplomat David Hale, deputy to U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.

The two are expected to meet with Netanyahu's advisers – attorney Isaac Molho, Ron Dermer, and Uzi Arad – and discuss ways to renew the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians. The U.S. officials will conduct similar meetings in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and additional Palestinian officials.