PM Netanyahu at the opening of the Knesset winter session: “We will succeed.”

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.

PM Netanyahu addresses the Knesset winter session Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

PM Netanyahu addresses the Knesset winter session
Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

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.

Click here for full speech.

Analysis of the Israeli PM’s Speech: Vintage Netanyahu

Netanyahu always places the focus first and foremost on security; He sees his historic role as leader of Israel not necessarily as being the one who will bring peace.

Watch the full speech here:

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The Jerusalem Post (Sep 30) — Netanyahu stood on the world’s grandest stage on Monday and delivered three key messages: Israel’s fight is your fight, the time has come to retire the 20-year-old template of direct negotiations with the Palestinians as the path to peace, and that his main historic role is to defend the Jewish state.

The speech was vintage Netanyahu. It had passion, it had soaring rhetorical flourishes, it had sarcasm. It even had a contemporary reference to retiring New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter.

And, finally, it had an appraisal of how Netanyahu views his role as a leader.

Toward the end of the speech, Netanyahu said that some in the world do not take Israel’s security concerns seriously.

“But I do, and I always will,” he said. “Because as prime minister of Israel I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the future of the Jewish state. And no matter what pressure is brought to bear, I will never waiver in fulfilling that responsibility.”

That theme has been woven more than anything else through all of Netanyahu’s major addresses. Some leaders, like Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Olmert, saw their ultimate role as being a peacemaker, and emphasized that in their keynote addresses.

Not Netanyahu. He always places the focus first and foremost on security. He sees his historic role as leader of Israel not necessarily as being the one who will bring peace, but rather the one who will ensure the country’s security, even if it means taking positions unpopular around the world to do so. One such position may be his signal Monday that he now prefers partnership with the Arab world as a way to reach some kind of accommodation with the Palestinians, rather than negotiations and peace with the Palestinians as the ticket to rapprochement with the Arab world.

In the role he envisions for himself as the defender of the Jewish people and the Jewish state, Netanyahu sees it as his responsibility to sound the warning loudly and clearly about the incoming storms.

He did that in his addresses to the UN in 2012 and 2013, focusing on Iran, and he did it again Monday.

This time the storm had two names: Iran and militant Islamic radicalism.

Knowing full well the world in which he lives, Netanyahu tried to draw parallels between Islamic State, which has the world up in arms, with the Islamic state of Iran, which he fears the world is willing to give a pass. Though there might be differences in their theological approach, he stressed, the aim is the same: world domination.

Netanyahu sees it as his role to shout from the mountain tops about the incoming storms. And he artfully shouted about them Monday at the UN. And if the world does not heed his warnings, he had another message as well – one that also always props up in his keynote addresses: Israel will always defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

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Netanyahu at the UN: Arab world beginning to see common interests with Israel

Netanyahu at UN

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a photograph as he addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly. (Photo: Reuters)

The Jerusalem Post (Sep 29) —  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the UN general assembly on Monday in New York and warned the crowd of the threat of radical militant Islam.

He said that the Arab world, for the first time, was beginning to recognize the benefit in aligning themselves with Israel and seeing they have a common enemy.

He also said that he is willing to make a “historic compromise” with the Palestinians.

The prime minister spoke in his speech of the correlation between Hamas and ISIS, saying the two are “branches from the same poisonous tree.”

He warned that the escalation of the radical groups is similar to that of the Nazi’s and continued to warn about Iran, saying that Iran is not actually willing to give up nuclear weapons, rather just wants to get rid of the sanctions against them.

Netanyahu then spoke about Operation Protective Edge, saying that the IDF is the most moral army in the world.

Netanyahu said that Israel “faced a propaganda war because in an attempt to gain sympathy, Hamas used human shields, homes and hospitals to fire rockets at Israel while Israel surgically struck military targets.”

He said that Israel took steps to minimize civilian casualties and that “Palestinians were tragically and unintentionally killed. Israel was not targeting citizens.”

Prior to leaving for the US on Sunday, Netanyahu said that his speech would “deflect all the lies about us, and tell the truth about the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world.”

Click here for full article.

Netanyahu to AIPAC: ‘We will never be brought to the brink of extinction again’

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Breitbart (March 4) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told thousands of pro-Israel activists in Washington on Tuesday that Israel was prepared to do whatever it felt necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear program. “We will never be brought to the brink of extinction again,” he said. “I will do whatever I must do to defend the Jewish State of Israel.” He argued that the only way to make war less likely was to place Iran under greater pressure.

Netanyahu outlined Israel’s minimal demands: not only that Iran be prevented from building a nuclear weapon, as Secretary of State John Kerry had insisted the night before, but that Iranian nuclear enrichment be totally dismantled, and that the regime reveal the full extent of its military’s nuclear programs. Netanyahu was careful not to tweak the Obama administration, however, thanking “the indomitable John Kerry” for his diplomacy.

On Kerry’s mission to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu reiterated his support for the two-state solution, but added that while “we should always hope for the best,” Israel had to “prepare for the worst.” He specifically ruled out an international peacekeeping force from playing a role in the Jordan Valley, reminding the audience that international peacekeepers had not kept Arab armies or terror groups from attacking Israel.

“They keep the peace only when there is peace. But when they’re subjected to repeated attacks, those forces eventually go home,” he said. The only army to be trusted, he said, was that “defending its own home”–namely, the Israeli army. The Obama administration has insisted that Israel accept an international force–perhaps U.S. troops–in areas of the Jordan Valley, Israel’s eastern border, that the Palestinians want for their own state.

Netanyahu also took on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which in past years might have been ignored, but which many speakers at AIPAC specifically singled out for criticism. “They should be opposed because they’re bad for peace, and because BDS is just plain wrong…morally wrong,” he said, noting that Israel was the one country in the region that upheld academic freedom and tolerance for minorities.

“How could anyone fall for the BS in BDS?” he joked, before telling AIPAC that much of what BDS believed was in a category of historical libels against the Jewish people: “the latest in the long and dark history of antisemitism.” BDS, he said, “should be exposed and condemned. The boycotters should be boycotted.” He also applauded actress Scarlett Johansson for resisting BDS pressure to drop her endorsement for an Israeli firm.

Overall, Netanyahu’s speech lacked some of the drama of previous addresses to AIPAC, largely because the highly-anticipated clash with the Obama administration on this visit was overshadowed by the crisis in the Ukraine. Indeed, on Monday, CNN did not bother to air footage of Obama and Netanyahu’s remarks on Israel from the Oval Office, jumping instead directly to Obama’s comments on Russian involvement in the Crimea.

The address laid out, in a diplomatic manner, Israel’s clear differences with the Obama administration on the expectations for negotiations with Iran, and on security arrangements in a final agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Other than that, aside from a few bad jokes–“This Scud’s for you,” “Scarlett–frankly, my dear, I do give a damn”–Netanyahu’s address broke little new ground, for once–perhaps much to his own relief.

Report: Netanyahu orders Mossad to find proof Iran violating nuclear accord

The Jerusalem Post (Dec 1) — Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered both the Mossad and Military Intelligence to search for evidence that Iran is continuing nuclear activities forbidden under the Geneva accord signed with world powers last week, The Sunday Times quoted Israeli defense sources as saying.

Proof that Iran was violating the terms of the six-month interim deal would complicate US President Barack Obama’s push to delay the passage of new congressional sanctions against Iran while a long-term deal with Iran is being negotiated.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said, both before and after the signing of the deal in Geneva, that the agreement does not sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to obtain nuclear weapons and prematurely offers the Islamic Republic sanctions relief.

“Everyone has his own view regarding the Geneva agreement,” the Times quoted an Israeli intelligence source as saying. “But it is clear that if a smoking gun is produced, it will tumble like a house of cards.”

The Times quoted Israeli defense sources as saying that Israeli intelligence was seeking to uncover clandestine activity in three areas of Iran’s nuclear program – hidden uranium enrichment sites, ballistic missiles and bomb design.

“Iran would not have invested such a fortune [estimated at $200 billion] if in the end it does not produce nuclear weapons and turn Iran into a regional superpower,” the paper quoted an Israeli official as saying.

Netanyahu warns against “very, very bad” Iran nuclear deal

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The free world will be paying for this deal for a long, long time. “Netanyahu Warns Against ‘Very, Very Bad’ Iran Nuclear Deal,” from the Washington Free Beacon, November 8:

…Full statement: I met Secretary Kerry right before he leaves to Geneva. I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal, and the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge, but the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran, for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted in this stage, and it pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal. A very, very bad deal. It’s the deal of the century for Iran. It’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace in the international community.

Israeli election prediction

Lets skip the intro (click here for full article), and dive right into the scientific prediction and logical conclusions of the article, “Are Israelis already thinking about the next round? 11 short notes, 2 great graphs” by JewishJournal.com:

PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Reuters)

PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Reuters)

This is going to be short, as I’m sure you have no time for long election coverage, especially as we all know who’s going to be the next PM…

4.

What is Netanyahu’s coalition going to look like? Two Israeli bloggers, Dr. Ely Kovetz, a Tel Aviv University physicist, and architect Dan Marcus “co-write an election forecast blog called ‘Batel Be-Shishim’ in which they try to make scientifically-based predictions” – that’s Israel’s Nate Silver style attempt at making predictions. The blog is in Hebrew, but Kovetz and Marcus kindly agreed to let the Domain publish an English version of some of their graphs – these will help us understand coalition building in a visual way.

5.

Let’s begin with the blocs though. Readers of the Domain are familiar with the concept – we have the bloc-tracking of Israel’s top pollster, Prof. Camil Fuchs, as a weekly feature (take a look at the most recent graph). Fuchs divides the 120 mandates into two blocs – right and left – Kovetz and Marcus only have 110 in the left and right blocs, and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party as the “center bloc” of (currently) 10 mandates. Here’s the graph projecting probabilities for the number of mandates of the right and left blocs:

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And now the second Kovetz-Marcus graph – dividing the blocs into parties and projected mandates. This graph was updated on January 5, according to polls taken in the days prior:

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Reasonable conclusion 1: Netanyahu will be forced to head a right-religious coalition. This will make him very uneasy, and is likely to result in a lot of international pressure and an early date for yet another round of elections.

10.

Reasonable conclusion 2: Netanyahu will somehow find a way to broaden the coalition – but this will not be a stable political marriage of opposite worldviews, and yes, is likely to result in a lot of international pressure and an early date for yet another round of elections.

WMM Analysis: Netanyahu will not choose a completely right-wing coalition. He will attempt to move towards the center as much as possible.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: Hamas could replace PA if peace deal rushed

Netanyahu says in spite of “voices urging concessions,” he will avoid allowing a “third Iranian terror base” by putting security first.

ShowImageIn apparent criticism of President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu culled from this Shabbat’s Torah portion to explain Tuesday why it would be foolish to run headlong into a peace agreement with the Palestinians that would entail deep concessions.

Netanyahu, in comments made before hosting at his Jerusalem residence his third Bible study session since May, quoted from the first chapter of Exodus: “A new king arose over Egypt who did not know of Joseph.”

“That is true today as it was then,” he said.

“The regime has changed in Egypt, in Syria the government is shaking, and that can happen as well in the Palestinian Authority territories in Judea and Samaria.”

Netanyahu said that every sensible person understands that Hamas could take control of the Palestinian Authority, as it did in Gaza. “Therefore, contrary to the voices I hear in recent days encouraging me to run ahead, make concessions, withdraw, I think the diplomatic process needs to be managed in a responsible, not hysterical, manner, and with wisdom, not hastily. Otherwise a third Iranian terror base [in addition to Gaza and southern Lebanon] will be established in the heart of the country. Peace can only be achieved when security is guaranteed.”

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Israel’s Netanyahu: World has double standards

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister on Monday accused the international community of “deafening silence” in response to recent vows by the head of the Hamas militant group to fight on until the Jewish state is destroyed, and appeared unmoved by the gathering storm of global condemnation of his government’s plans to continue settling the West Bank.

“This weekend the leader of Hamas, sitting next to the Hamas leader of Gaza, a man who praised Osama Bin Laden, this weekend openly called for the destruction of Israel. Where was the outrage? Where were the U.N. resolutions? Where was President Abbas?” Netanyahu said.

“Why weren’t Palestinian diplomats summoned to European and other capitals to explain why the PA president not only refused to condemn this but actually declared his intention to unite with Hamas. There was nothing, there was silence and it was deafening silence,” he added.

“The reason why the Palestinians avoided negotiations for the past four years is a very simple one. They avoided negotiations because they were willing to take concessions from Israel but they were not prepared to make concessions to Israel,” he said.

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