Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
on Wednesday called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
to renew the peace process and said from the Knesset podium that "since he doesn't speak Hebrew and my Arabic is only so-so, I address him in a language we both understand: Give peace a chance."
Netanyahu added: "The citizens of Israel
want security. The citizens of Israel want peace, and I want peace and security. Anyone familiar with the details of the negotiations knows Israel is not the side evading talks and obstructing them.
"The important thing is to not pose preconditions, but to simply enter negotiations. We're listening to any initiative - the Arab League initiative has been mentioned - and we're ready to discuss the initiatives that are proposals but not impositions." .
Netanyahu made the statements during a special Knesset session reviewing the government's policy. The session was initiated by the opposition which secured the signatures of 40 Knesset members forcing Netanyahu to attend.
Addressing the government's campaign against illegal migrants
he said, "We are acting in accordance with humane and international standards but we are under no obligation to take in hundreds of thousands.
Netanyahu speaks in Knesset (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
"In my capacity as foreign minister, I have met with dozens of foreign ministers and many of them expressed to me their regret that they did not act in time as we did to prevent large scale infiltration."
Referring to the draft reform
bill, Netanyahu remarked, "We have been waiting for this for 65 years, and we shall accomplish this while still respecting the haredi public and engaging in dialogue as we've done in the past four years. We shall move forward with mutual respect. The last thing we want to do is tear ourselves to pieces."
Ya'alon, Netanyahu and Lapid (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
The prime minister also addressed the Iranian issue remarking that "Iran
has accumulated more than 180 kg of uranium enriched to 20% level. A little over a year ago, it had 110 kg.
They have yet to cross the red line I drew at the UN but they are moving towards it systematically. Do not be fooled, the Iranian elections will change nothing and while Tehran pursues its nuclear policy it continues to arm Syria,
and the Islamic Jihad
Netanyahu was followed on the podium by Opposition Chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovich
) who accused the PM of leading Israel down the path of a bi-national state.
"The bi-national state scenario is promoted by those who believe in it, but unfortunately also by you, who through idleness and lack of initiative led us to the realization of this scenario.
"I don't doubt that you love the State, but the actions you take or more precisely, that you neglect to take, do not agree with the Zionist vision.
Yachimovich accuses government of idleness, lack of initiative (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
"You can't be called the 'national camp' when you're leading us to a bi-national state. This isn't the national camp, this is the bi-national camp."
During the debate, Meretz
Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On addressed Netanyahu and said: "There is a partner in the Palestinian side. Are you a partner? Will you extend your hand to the Arab League initiative by slamming the door?"
Gal-On, who was one of the initiators of the debate, added: "Mr. prime minister, we're in a critical point in time. There is currently a window of opportunity, but your government is dragging its feet and sabotaging the negotiations."
Meretz chairwoman reminded a statement by US State Secretary John Kerry, who said that this may be the last chance for peace: "Anyone who things the status-quo in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can go on, is living in a dream. You are hallucinating. Your government's diplomatic conduct is that of a tank in a china shop. You're announcing to the world that Israel doesn't want peace."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop