Netanyahu: ‘Historic compromise’ between Israelis, Palestinians possible
NEW YORK (Press Release)–In a conference call for national Jewish leaders sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his belief that “an historic compromise” to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people is possible.
He also reiterated his goal of reaching a framework agreement with the Palestinians within one year, stating that the two foundations for a lasting peace are recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the nation state of the Jewish people and lasting security. While achieving success in these negotiations requires him and President Abbas to be “flexible and creative,” Prime Minister Netanyahu noted the “enormous benefits to both our peoples that will come if we can defy the skeptics and forge a historic peace.”
By “saying yes” to a Jewish state, the Palestinians “must recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and sovereignty,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu. And while a Palestinian state could grant Palestinians around the world the right to immigrate to its state, just as Israel has done with Jews around the world, Palestinian refugees “do not have a right to come to the Jewish state,” he said.Regarding Israel’s security, Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized that Israel could not have a “repeat of what happened after Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza,” where those territories were “turned into Iranian-sponsored terror bases from which thousands of rockets were fired at Israel.” To defend the peace agreement, Israel needs a long-term Israeli presence “on the eastern side of a Palestinian state – that is, in the Jordan Valley,” he said.
While he acknowledged the many provocative and inciteful acts conducted by the Palestinians, including the recent ruling by a Palestinian Authority court that the sale of Palestinian land to an Israeli is punishable by death, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that he will give the talks a chance to succeed and will not walk away from the negotiations – and that he expects President Abbas to meet with him to discuss their disagreements. “We’ll have to build a relationship of trust that will enable us to grapple with the very difficult challenges we face,” he said.
Conference Chairman Alan Solow and its executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein issued the following comment:
“This conference call reflects the importance Prime Minister Netanyahu places on the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community. This has become an annual tradition at the time of the Jewish New Year, which we value. We appreciate his taking the time to discuss the state of the negotiations and the guiding principles to a historic and lasting peace at this time. We hope that the blessings of peace will come to fruition and that President Abbas will meet Prime Minister Netanyahu with an equal desire for peace and a willingness to reach lasting agreements.
“Just as Israel has already made several significant gestures, including removing hundreds of roadblocks, releasing many prisoners, aiding economic development and working with Palestinian Authority security forces to improve the security cooperation in the West Bank, President Abbas must make significant gestures on the part of the Palestinian Authority. There must be a clear commitment to this process and readiness to compromise, not to use every opportunity to threaten to walk out to the detriment of his people and the region. Then we will see a true and lasting peace in the region.”*
Preceding provided by Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations