Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday addressed the Knesset plenum as part of the Knesset's "Herzl Day" events.
"We must stop beating ourselves up and blaming ourselves," Netanyahu said, "The reason there is no peace is that the Palestinians refuse to recognize the State of Israel as the Jewish people's nation state."
The prime minister added, "This is not a conflict about 1967, this is a conflict about 1948, about the State of Israel's very existence. You must have noticed that yesterday's events did not take place on June 5, the day the Six Day War erupted, they took place on May 15, the day the State of Israel was established."
Netanyahu also addressed the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas. "A Palestinian government half of which is comprised of those who declare their willingness to destroy the State of Israel on a daily basis is not a partner for peace.
"Anyone who says 'one makes peace with one's enemies' must add 'one make's peace with an enemy who has decided to make peace.'"
Netanyahu. 'We must stop blaming ourselves' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
He stressed that Israel is ready to make painful concessions for "parts of the homeland" if the Palestinians recognize Israel and denounce terror.
Netanyahu claimed there was wide consensus over his fundamental positions, including his demand that the Palestinian refugee issue be resolved outside Israel's borders and that a Palestinian state be established as part of a peace agreement.
"I believe there is also consensus around the fact that a Palestinian state must be disarmed including Israeli military presence along the Jordan River. We also agree that our people must retain the settlement blocks. Finally I insist that Jerusalem remain the State of Israel's capital."
Netanyahu concluded his speech by addressing the opposition. "In this historic moment, while our very existence is being challenged, we must unite for the state's benefit, and I call members of the opposition – rise above partisan interests, join us and together we shall present a united front."
Livni. Rejected unity proposal (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Livni slams Netanyahu
Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni also addressed the Knesset and rejected Netanyahu's unity proposal.
"With all due respect to you Mr. Prime minister, unity to keep you in your seat after the damage you have inflicted on the State of Israel is not worthy unity. Zionism has always initiated and never left the fate of the Jewish people in the hands of others."
She went on to warn the prime minister "you might yet go down in the history books as the prime minister in whose term the Palestinian state was founded, and I hope not Hamastan."
Livni's speech prompted heckling from coalition members who were cautioned by the Knesset Speaker: "I'll make a clown out of anyone who seeks to make a circus of the Knesset."
'Mideast changes unavoidable'
Before his statements regarding the political process, the prime minister addressed regional uprisings: "These are unavoidable changes. It is quite possible that in the long term these changes will be for the better. Either way I hope they will benefit the people themselves.
"Eventually, if their struggle is crowned with success it will do much to promote the chances of peace and its durability.
"Yet in the short term, in this transformation period, our situation might become more problematic and more challenging. Lebanon is controlled by Hezbollah under the aegis of Iran where only five years ago there was great hope for freedom and progress.
"We also see what happened yesterday along Israel's borders, thousands and thousands gathered on the border fences attempting to invade our territory and sovereignty."
In his opening remarks the prime minister praised Theodore Herzl: "he prophesied clearly that the survivability of the nation demands a Jewish state, that a necessary condition of the existence of the Jewish state was a Jewish army, a strong modern army based on advanced technology."
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