27 Oct 2014
Violence is not the result of building in Jerusalem. It is the result of our enemy’s desire that we not be here at all. For this reason, since the birth of Zionism, building has been the natural and decisive answer to those who plot against our existence and want to uproot us from our land.
The last time I stood here was before Operation Protective Edge. During that operation to defend against criminal terrorist attacks, the State of Israel showed the entire world what decisiveness, force and unity are. These values found supreme expression among the people and the army and above all in our soldiers who were injured, our soldiers who fell and their families.
…There are those who tell us, “Give up land ahead of time, draw a map and only later determine the security and other arrangements. It’ll be fine!” And I ask them, “It’ll be fine? Like it was fine after we withdrew from Gaza? Like it was fine after we withdrew from Lebanon?” I am not a prime minister for whom the phrase “it’ll be fine” is enough. I ask a simple question: What is the point of defining a border if we do not know what country we will get on the other side of that border? Will we get another Gaza? Another Iran? Or perhaps we will get several sub-states, raging, stormy countries, as is happening right now in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, almost everywhere. Perhaps some ISIS republic?
I know that these questions do not concern various parties in the international community and apparently in our national community here. I know they do not concern parliamentarians in Europe, but as the Prime Minister of Israel responsible for the well-being of eight million citizens of Israel, they concern me incessantly.
And with regard to security, I am not willing to compromise. I am not willing to make do with vague statements about commitments to Israel’s security, statements that have no practical validity in reality. Because what will determine the outcome is not pretty words on paper, but rather the soldiers in the field.
So I ask: Who will these soldiers be? Who will prevent the manufacturing of rockets in Nablus and Jenin? Who will prevent the digging of terror tunnels from Tulkarm and Qalqilya towards Israeli cities? Certainly not UNIFIL. According to you, which forces will ensure the peace and prevent terror attacks from the territories vacated? That is the question. Well, I think you will agree with me that it will not be UNIFIL. UNIFIL was supposed to prevent the arming of Hezbollah after our withdrawal from Lebanon and Hezbollah has armed itself ten times over. It will certainly not be UNDOF, which abandoned its positions in the Golan Heights and escaped to Israel. By the way, I am not complaining about any of these bodies. It is not their job to fight terrorist armies. It is not their mission or in their skillset.
But the question is: who can we trust? Well, there are those who say – and I hear it here – perhaps we can trust the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. These are the same forces that were defeated within hours, days, several days, by the terrorist forces of Hamas. This is reality and therefore I do not think I am saying anything you haven’t already heard before when I say that in defending Israel, there is no replacement for the soldiers of the IDF. This is a simple fact and it is joined by another fact: Over the past 20 years, since the rise of radical Islam, any territory we vacated was seized by these forces who attack us from the territories we left.
… However, even when looking at all these challenges, I am not overcome with pessimism. I am not pessimistic at all because I see our strength; I see our progress; I see the fact that Israel is a modern, civilized and advanced country whose strength increases from year to year.
I see it in our breaking into new markets – in China, India, Japan. I see it in the Tel Aviv skyline, in our roads, in our trains, in the junctions and bridges we are building across the country to connect the Galilee and the Negev to the center of the country. I see it in the optic fibers we are laying from Metullah to Eilat. I see it in the fact that Israel is becoming a global cyber power. Nearly 10% of all investments in this area around the world are made in Israel and that is amazing. I see it in the fact that our unemployment rates are the lowest in the world. And I see it in the fact that Israel is the only country that succeeded in stopping illegal infiltration across its borders. I see it in the development and equipping of the Iron Dome system, which changed the face of the military campaign and saved many lives. I see that there are still problems, but I believe that that same strength will allow us to do all these things, to withstand all campaigns, including last summer’s. That same strength will allow us to overcome these problems, and one of the most important of them is the cost of living.
… These are our two greatest challenges: To protect life and to improve the quality of life – security, prosperity, welfare and peace. These are our missions and together, I hope with your help as well, but certainly with God’s, we will succeed.