Monday, October 18, 2010

Netanyahu: Any peace agreement must include adequate security arrangements

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud Party members Monday he feared an agreement with the Palestinians that did not include adequate security arrangements.

"It’s not only a matter of rockets aimed at city centers. Today we are trying not to fly near Gaza because they have anti-aircraft missiles there. Imagine if we did not have security arrangements, and such missiles could take down planes on their way to Ben Gurion International Airport. We need to find long-term solutions," he said.

Netanyahu also commented on an interview Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave to Channel 1. "This talk was held seven minutes away. I must say I would prefer to hold a direct talk with him, one that could promote an agreement. In order to promote an agreement we must overcome artificial barriers," he said.

"The debate on construction is simply an artificial barrier. The construction takes up a very small percentage of the territory, and doesn't affect the settlement map. It has no real effect on the map of a possible arrangement".

But before discussing settlements, he said, Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state must be discussed. "Not just a statement that they are willing to recognize this at the end of the conflict, but recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people," he said.

"What matters is not the time it takes to conduct the talks, but whether there is willingness to resolve the conflict. If there is willingness, the conflict will be resolved… I hope the Palestinians make the right choice, because it will be good for us and good for them," he said.