Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday the opening of the winter session of Knesset that no external or internal pressure would force him into making concessions that would put Israel's security at risk.
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The prime minster charged that only Israel was under duress to give in at the negotiation table, adding that the Palestinians were making demands for statehood without giving guarantees for peace.
"I don't see pressure on the Palestinians. I see only pressure on Israel to make more and more concessions, without anything in exchange or security," he said. "I want to make it perfectly clear – no pressure, at home or abroad, will work."
"Israel will not lose hope for peace, but neither will it cling to false hope," Netanyahu added.
Netanyahu opened his speech by declaring that Israel would continue to stand up straight and proud of its people and its army. He added that Israel needed to show strength, unity and determination within the legal system, as well, to contend with those who attempt to dictate conditions that would endanger Israel's security and distance Israel from the peace it strives for.
"The Palestinians are demanding of us establish a Palestinian state – without peace and without security," he said. "They demand withdrawal to the 1967 lines, admitting refugees and dividing Jerusalem – and after all these exaggerated demands they are not prepared to agree to the basic condition for peace between two peoples – mutual recognition." He noted that the Palestinians "refuse to recognize the national character of our state." He stressed that "peace would be obtained only through negotiations between the sides, and any other way will undermine stability."
The prime minister also discussed building over the Green Line in Jerusalem. He said there was a broad public consensus that Israel had the full right to build in Jerusalem neighborhoods.
"It's a consensus, or at least I thought so," he said. "All Israeli governments have done so – it is also clear to the Palestinians that these territories will remain within Israel's borders in any deal."
"For some there is a never a convenient time to build homes in Jerusalem, and if it had depended on them, we would never have built one home during the last 60 years because it was never the appropriate time," he said.
Before the session opened, Netanyahu speculated during a Likud faction meeting that his party might surprise the country with stable governance, continued security and sustained economic growth. "Israeli citizens are interested in all these things, and only we are capable of providing it to them," he said.
Netanyahu added that the challenges are doubly hard at this juncture. "We have a mission to pass a budget and important legislation and to maintain stable government in Israel," he said. "We also have a challenge all around us. The Middle East is becoming very angry and stormy. Israel is an island of security and economic growth in this chaos."