Speaking at the start of a visit to Canada on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a future Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized to prevent Iran setting up a proxy state in the West Bank.
“We must ensure that we achieve a peace that is anchored in security, the only peace that will endure is a peace we can defend,” Netanyahu said, speaking to some 7,000 members of Toronto’s Jewish community at a pro-Israel rally.
“A future Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized,” he said.
The PM said the international community must prevent the Iranian regime, which he said was the biggest supporter of terror, from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu said the Jewish state's inception allowed the nation to fend off any attacks against it, adding that Israel will never relinquish its right to defend itself.
Netanyahu, who was expected to visit Ottawa later in the day, is on a visit to Canada ahead of a trip to Washington.
'It’s wonderful to be in Canada'
There, he’ll discuss with US President Barack Obama fragile US-brokered indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
During his time in Canada, Netanyahu is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
In Toronto on Sunday, Netanyahu praised the relationship between his country and Canada, saying it was stronger than ever.
“This comes from the people and it also comes from the governments,” he told reporters.
“It’s wonderful to be in Canada.”
The Israeli PM thanked Harper for acting against what he called the efforts to delegitimize Israel.
However, not all were in a welcoming mood.
There were hundreds of protesters on hand in Toronto, some of whom called Netanyahu a war criminal and criticized the Conservative government’s strong support for Israel.
Some of the protestors were haredim belonging to the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect.
A Netanyahu speech was cancelled in 2002 at Montreal’s Concordia University due to heavy protests there.
Prior to the rally, Netanyahu and his wife Sara were given two Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys with "Netanyahu" written on the back, above the number 62.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report