Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke Tuesday evening at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Netanyahu noted Israel’s concerns about Iran, and revealed the two demands that his government will not concede on in talks with the Palestinian Authority.
He began by warning that Iran is nearly at the threshold of nuclear weapons production. “The intermediate agreement in Geneva put Iran a mere six weeks farther from a bomb, by our estimate,” he revealed.
“The test will be in the final agreement, if there is one,” he continued. “The only agreement we will support is one that guarantees a full disarming of all infrastructure and capability to create a nuclear weapon.”
“We will not allow Iran to develop the ability to develop a nuclear weapon,” he warned. “That was, and remains, Israel’s position.”
Netanyahu then spoke about the ongoing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Most Israelis do not wish to see Israel become a binational state, he said, and also “we do not want another state backed by Iran next to us,” referencing Iranian-funded Hamas’s rule of Gaza.
Israel has two basic demands, he continued. “The first is recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people,” he declared to applause.
“This is the root of the conflict,” he explained. “The conflict isn’t about territories, or about settlements, or even about a Palestinian state. The Zionist movement agreed to recognize a Palestinian state. The conflict is about the Jewish state.”
Netanyahu reminded his audience of the terrorist attacks targeting Israelis prior to the Six Day War. “It was not about Judea and Samaria – those were in Arab hands,” he stated.
“When we talk about an agreement, we’re talking about an agreement where we will be asked to recognize a Palestinian national state,” he added. “Should we not demand that the Jewish national state be recognized as well?”
Israel’s other demand pertains to security, he continued. Israel demands “stable security arrangements, based on the IDF and Israeli security apparatuses, which include a long-term Israeli military presence along the Jordan River,” he said. In addition, he said, the PA state must be demilitarized.
The PA has expressed strong opposition to a continued Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley – a condition that Israeli military leaders and analysts have warned is vital to Israeli security.
Netanyahu admitted to disagreements between Israel and the United States, which has been acting as a mediator, but downplayed their importance. “The Americans work to create American positions. Israel does not have to accept every American position,” he said.
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