Monday, May 16, 2011

Analysis by Gil Ronen/ Netanyahu less defensive, more confident

(Gil Ronen-INN).In his speech before the Knesset’s plenum in its special Herzl Day session, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu laid down five conditions for a peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority Arabs. These are:
1. The Palestinians must recognize Israel as the Jewish nation’s state.
2. The treaty must be an end to the conflict.
3. The Arab refugee problem must be solved outside of Israel’s borders.
4. A Palestinian state will have to be demilitarized and a peace treaty must safeguard Israel’s security.
5. The settlement blocs will remain within the state of Israel and Jerusalem will remain its united capital.
Netanyahu’s speech can be seen as an accurate indication of what he intends to say when he addresses the U.S. Congress next Tuesday. It is unlikely that he will go back on any of the principles he laid down, given the venue: a Herzl Day address before the Knesset plenum.

Based on Monday's speech, the prime minister does not appear to be planning any retreat from previous positions, and may arguably even have toughened his stance somewhat, although this is arguable.

The condition added by Netanyahu in this speech in addition to Bar Ilan speech in June 2009, is Israel’s retention of the large settlement blocs. In the Bar Ilan speech, Netanyahu said that the territorial issues would be determined in negotiations and that until then, Israel would not be building new settlements or expropriating land in Judea and Samaria.

In Monday’s speech he was less defensive and more confident on this issue, announcing that Israel would insist on keeping the large settlement blocs in its possession.