Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a message to the US Wednesday, "We must ensure Israel's existence as a Jewish State. Not only will pressure not support peace, it will prevent it."
In a speech before the Israel Bonds delegation in Jerusalem Ayalon said, "We desire peace – but not at the cost of Israel's national interests."
Ayalon was responding to recent reports that the US intends to present a conclusive Middle East peace plan, to which it will hold both Israel and the Palestinians.
Former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must choose between the US president and his right-wing allies.
"The shift in America’s Middle East interests means that Netanyahu must make a choice: Take on the president of the United States, or take on his right wing." Indyck said in an article published by the New York Times.
"If he continues to defer to those ministers in his cabinet who oppose peacemaking, the consequences for US-Israel relations could be dire."
To this Ayalon responded, "Resolving the conflict with the Palestinians is a principal Israeli interest, and no one may moralize with us on this issue. We desire peace, and have proved it more than once. If the Palestinian leadership had done half of what Israel has done for peace, we would have achieved peace with our neighbors by now. In response to Israel concessions, we must also see Palestinian concessions."
He added, "Peace is our goal, and if the means to achieving that goal is the creation of a Palestinian state, then that is what must be done – not by an artificial schedule and enforced solution, but by building a platform of trust and confidence between the two sides. This trust should be built by direct talks rather than proximity talks, and it is a pity that the Palestinians are creating obstacles on this issue."
Ayalon also added a post-Independence Day message. "Yesterday, the State of Israel celebrated its 62nd Day of Independence. Independence, which I am sorry to say, is not obvious to much of the world," he said.
"Israel faces security, social and economic challenges, but there are global extremists who threaten not only Israel but also the entire world. Israel has the capability to defend itself, and can be proud of its achievements in its 62 years of independence."
The deputy foreign minister also called on the international community to put an end to the Iranian threat.