Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech today has not yet been released in text form but I have 5-1/2 minute video below that covers a good portion of the speech. We see that Israel again extends a hand of peace. We see that the Palestinians will have none of it.
Begin video transcript (only 5-1/2 minutes of the speech are represented here):
Now more than ever as we face three immense challenges. the Iranian threat, the economic crisis and the advancement of peace. The Iranian threat looms large before us as we learned yesterday in full force. The greatest danger confronting Israel, the Middle East and the entire world, is the nexus between radical Islam and nuclear weapons. I raised this issue with President Obama in my recent visit to Washington, and I will raise it again in my meetings next week with European leaders.
For years I have been working tirelessly to forge an international alliance to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. I turn to you, our Palestinian neighbors, lead by the Palestinian Authority: let us begin negotiations immediately without preconditions. Is is obligated by our international commitments, and expects all the parties to keep its commitments as well, and I say to the Palestinian people this evening, that we want to live with you in peace as good neighbors. We want our children and your children to never again experience war; that parents, wives, husbands, brothers and sisters will never again know the agony of losing a loved one in battle; that our children will be able to dream of a brighter future and realize that dream. That together we will invest our energies in ploughshares and pruning hooks not swords and spears.
I know the face of war. I have experienced battle. I have lost close friends. I lost a brother. I have seen the pain of bereaved families up close, and many times. I do not want war. No one in Israel wants war. If we join hands and work together for peace, together with our neighbors, there is no limit to the development and prosperity we can achieve for our two peoples in economy, trade, agriculture, tourism and education. Fortunately, Egypt and Jordan have left this circle of enmity. The signing of peace treaties with them have brought about and end of their claims against Israel, an end to the conflict, bringing peace.
But to our regret, this is not the case with the Palestinians. The closer we get to an agreement with the them, the further they retreat. They raise their demands, demands that are inconsistent with the true desire to end the conflict.
Many good people have told us that withdrawal from the territories is the key to peace with the Palestinians. Well we withdrew. But the fact is that every withdrawal was met with massive waves of terror by suicide bombers and thousands of missiles. We tried to withdraw with an agreement and without an agreement. We tried a partial withdrawal and a full withdrawal. In the year 2000 and again last year, I proposed with good will, an almost total withdrawal in exchange for an end to the conflict and twice our offers were rejected. We evacuated every last inch of the Gaza strip and we uprooted settlements, and evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes and in response we received a hail of missiles on our cities towns and children.
The claim that territorial withdrawals will bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least advance peace, has until now, not stood the test of reality. Moreover, Hamas in the south like Hezbollah in the north, have repeatedly proclaimed their commitment to liberate the cities of Ashkelon, Tiberius, Beersheava, Haifa and Acre. In other words, territorial withdrawals have not lessened the hatred and the most regretful thing is even the most moderate among the Palestinians have are not willing to say the simple words “Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people and it will stay that way.
The territorial question will be discussed in the final peace agreement. In the meantime we have no intention of building new settlements or expropriating additional land for new settlements, but there is a need to allow the settlers to live normals lives and raise their children like families everywhere. The settlers are neither the enemies of the people, nor are they the enemies of peace. They are our brothers and sisters. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah the prophet, who in Jerusalem said 2700 years ago, “no nation shall lift up sword against nation and with God’s help we will know war no more, we will know peace.”
End video transcript.
While the video below does not address Netanyahu’s demand that Palestine be a demiliartized state, that was a part of the speech. A BBC report backs up that information.
Huffington Post has this confirmation:
Netanyahu said the Palestinian state would have to be unarmed and recognize Israel as the Jewish state _ a condition amounting to Palestinian refugees giving up the goal of returning to Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented three conditions for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel: The recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, demilitarization, and the support of the international community.
If we receive this guarantee we will be ready to accept a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish one,” he said. Netanyahu added that Jerusalem would remain the unified capital of Israel.
This report says that the Palestinian Authority expressed “outrage and shock” at Netanyahu’s call for a demilitiarized Palestinian state, and the call to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and accused Israel of burying the peace process. According to PA President Mahmoud Abbas:
Netanyahu’s speech is a blow to Obama before it’s a blow to the Palestinians and Arabs,” commented an aide. “It’s obvious, in the aftermath of this speech, that we are headed toward another round of violence and bloodshed.
Read additional remarks taken from today’s speech from Monkey in the Middle