Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sought to create a strong image at a meeting with Likud party supporters on Monday, giving his last speech before he leaves to Washington for peace talks. The prime minister was particular to cast himself in the role of his famous Likud predecessor and peacemaker, Menahem Begin, as someone strong enough to create a permanent peace.
"I can do that [achieve peace] better than anyone else. Likud supports real peace, Only a Likud government can bring a peace agreement that will guarantee the security of Israel forever."
Netanyahu went to great pains during his short speech to distinguish his current peace efforts from the failed attempts of more recent prime ministers to bring calm to Israel's borders.
"We won't be satisfied with papers and promises. We won't allow hundreds of rockets as we did after we left Gaza and Lebanon. We want real peace agreements that guarantee the security of Israel for the benefit of peace and prosperity for Israel and its neighbors and if possible the rest of the Arab world,I am not naïve. There are two sides. But I want to give it time and resources,It is not dependent entirely on us, but I intend to give the time and effort required to achieve this. "
The prime minister assured his fellow party members, "You don't need to worry; no one can teach me or my friends what it means to love Israel. Who knows better than you what Likud is willing to do to achieve eternal peace? Real peace is not the break between wars or the break between one terror attack and the next."
Netanyahu went on to say, "Real peace lasts for generations, as we saw in the agreement Likud forged with Egypt under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin."
Netanyahu also addressed Israel's Arabs citizens in his address, saying, "We want you as a part of Israel, want a full partnership to develop your communities, to improve your education…so every boy and girl will be able to compete in modern society."
He concluded his speech saying, "I hope to find a courageous partner as Begin found in Sadat."