Netanyahu Says Only IDF in West Bank Will Ensure Peace

In address to Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, prime minister lists requirements for peace and takes credit for failure to reach nuclear deal with Iran.

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Haaretz
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the Palestinian leadership for the collapse of peace talks and took credit for the failure to reach a nuclear deal with Iran during a pre-recorded speech on Sunday evening to the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, currently being held in Washington.

It was a good thing that the November 24 deadline for reaching a nuclear deal with Iran came to nothing, Netanyahu said. “Even though Israel isn’t part of the P5+1 [negotiating nations] our voice played a critical role in preventing a bad deal.”

Peace negotiations came to an end earlier this year, because the Palestinians “refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state," Netanyahu said.

“The talks ended because Palestinians wanted them to end. [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas chose a pact with Hamas over peace with Israel. The Palestinian leadership is simply not prepared to truly confront violence and fanaticism within Palestinian society.”

The premier added that those responsible for the recent spate of terror attacks in Jerusalem “were not focused on how many apartments were being built in Jerusalem – they were focused on killing Jews.” Abbas, he stressed, “is in a political pact with those who celebrated the Har Nof attack [in which five Jews were killed in a synagogue.]”

Regarding events in the Middle East, Netanyahu said: “We now see chaos in Iran, Syria, Libya, Lebanon the entire region is hemorrhaging. Violence is spreading throughout the Middle East.

"The collapse of the old order has made it clear to pragmatic Arab governments that Israel is not their enemy. Quite the contrary this cooperation could in turn open the door to peace a genuine peace, a peace, founded upon robust security arrangements. There can be no peace without a long-term IDF presence [in the West Bank] to provide it.”

Netanyahu enumerated what he called the “triangle of true peace”: Genuine mutual recognition, an end to all claims, including the right of return, and a long-term IDF presence [in the West Bank.]

“Sticking our heads in the sand and false hopes won’t bring true peace,” he said.

Netanyahu also referred to the controversial nation-state bill – “I will never agree to legislation that undermines Israel’s democratic values,” he said – and lauded the ties between Israel and the United States.

The two countries have a great bond, he said, "anchored in democratic values.” The friendship was demonstrated in the Iron Dome funding during summer war and the passing of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Act by Congress.

Concluding with the Israeli elections, Netanyahu said: “I hope to receive a broad mandate from the people to form a strong government; to lead the Jewish state in these tumultuous times to steer Israel to safer shores."

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