Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Netanyahu repeats 'Basic framework' and vision for Middle East peace

PM Netanyahu's Addressed today the Jewish Agency Board of Governors in Jerusalem, PM Netanyahu repeated his outlined principles that can serve as a basic framework for a viable and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the Real Two State solution,a vision backed by a majority of Israel, the most moderate, realistic peace plan.

Netnayahu started by pointing out that "The overwhelming majority of Jews in Israel and outside Israel, Israelis in Israel and friends of Israel outside Israel, agree on the basic framework of peace assuming we had a peace partner who wanted to make peace with Israel. I outlined this basic consensus in my recent speeches in the Knesset and in my speech before the American Congress. And I know that I expressed a vision of peace that is in these speeches that is supported by the overwhelming majority of Israelis".
"The first is that we seek to achieve a peace and mutual recognition between two states, two nation-states for two peoples: a Jewish State which means a nation-state, the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel, and a nation-state for the Palestinians. This conflict is about the Jewish State. It’s about the persistent refusal to accept that the Jews have a right for a nation-state of their own and anybody’s. It precedes the question of boundaries; it precedes the question of territorial dispute; it is a dispute against our very right to exist as a sovereign Jewish State. It has always been that. It’s just been masked but it explains why this conflict extended itself for half a century – from 1920 till 1967 when there were no “territories”; no Israeli soldiers in Judea, Samaria or Gaza; no refugees for half that time; and Jerusalem was divided. Half of it was in Arab hands, but there was for fifty years this horrible conflict. What was it about? It was about our existence as a Jewish State; a refusal to accept this idea of Zionism before the establishment of the State and a refusal to accept the idea of a Jewish State after it’s existed. And that has not disappeared.

"I stood before my people, people of Israel and I said numerous times that I will accept a Palestinian state. Now President Abbas must stand before his people and he has to say these six word, “I will accept the Jewish State”. He has to say it. And I will repeat this over and over and over again because it is the attempt to fudge, it’s the attempt to fudge and evade and obscure this essential component of peace; the removal of this basic obstacle to peace that is required and this is what the international community must face up to....once they say it, we will move inexorably towards peace.

The second point is that the refugee problems are settled in these two respective states – the question of Palestinian refugees will be resolved in the Palestinian state and not in Israel. Just as the question of Jewish refugees caused by that same Arab assault on Israel in 1948, was resolved within the Jewish state. The Arab attack, the attack of five Arab armies, with the Palestinians, on the embryonic Jewish state caused two refugee problems. About 650,000 Palestinian refugees and a somewhat larger number of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab states. Tiny Israel absorbed all the Jewish refugees and the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees, and neither justice nor common sense mandates that 63 years later, the Arab world or the Palestinians will come to us and say: Now, absorb the great-great-grandchildren of this part of the refugee problem that we created ourselves.

The third point is the demilitarization of the Palestinian state. We don’t want a repeat of what happened when we withdrew from Gaza or from South Lebanon. I believe that this will require for Israel to maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. A peace you cannot defend will not hold. A peace you can defend will.

The fourth point is to incorporate what are called the settlement blocs, these large, urban communities that are fairly dense and concentrated alongside Greater Tel Aviv and Greater Jerusalem, and other areas of critical, strategic and national importance in the final borders of Israel. We believe also that Jerusalem must remain united, under Israeli sovereignty. 

And the last is the ending of the conflict, the ending of the claims. By that I mean that if we shall make an agreement based on these principles, and these are not preconditions to entering negotiations, these are the foundations of achieving a durable peace if we can exit the negotiations, once we enter and finish the process. But the main point is that what we have to achieve is an end to conflict. Not to create a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel to continue the conflict and try to dissolve Israel by flooding it with refugees or by inducing irredentist pressures on the Arabs of the Galilee or the Negev, or the idea of a binational state – but actually end the conflict, accept the Jewish state and alongside it a Palestinian state so that we may have peace for ourselves and our children and our grandchildren and for future generations, and not a continuation...."