Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that his government will stand firm against any international pressure to reignite the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by accepting the PA's unilateral conditions.
Speaking at a Likud Party Passover toast, Netanyahu said, "We will stand for our principles and fight those who try to dictate terms that would strip us of security and peace."
Netanyahu's comments followed recent reports suggesting the UN will discuss the Palestinian demand for statehood recognition in its coming General Assembly meeting in September.
"We have been steadfast these two years, making sure that any peace agreement brings with it a secure, safe peace. Not just peace on paper, but a sustainable peace. I have set two core principles to that effect: the first – Palestinian recognition in the State of Israel as the Jewish people's homeland; and the second – real security arrangements on the ground."
Such security arrangements, he added, are vital not only to protect peace, but also to safeguard Israel in case the peace agreement is breached.
"We have to prepare for that as well. We have maintained these principles vis-à-vis significant pressure and we will keep insisting on them, because they are vital to our future."
Steadfast. Netanyahu (Photo: Dudu Azulai)
"We will face great challenges in the next two year," he continued, "and we will meet them. We will meet challenges posed by security, the economy, society and in politics as well. And we will stand firm before those trying to dictate terms void of peace and security."
Turning his attention to the recent tension on the Gaza border, the prime minister said that his government has put an end to Israel's abiding of attacks on its soil: "My policy is very clear – any attack will be met with a vigorous response."
Commenting on reports in the foreign media, alleging Israel was behind a recent airstrike in Sudan, which targeted terrorists, Netanyahu said: "We do a lot. Not everything is known, only some. We focus not only on reaction, but also on prevention, thwarting and keeping our enemies from arming themselves. The result has been two years of almost unprecedented calm.
"We lost fewer lives in these two years. That's not by chance, it is a clear result of our policy."
"Lately," he continued – seemingly addressing the Gaza terror groups – "There has been an attempt to breach this calm and our rules of play. Our response was clear – the IDF struck, and struck again. I hope Hamas and the other terror groups understood, and if they didn’t – they will.
"The message is simple: We will not stand for fire on buses or on our children. We will not abide a situation where Israeli citizens are sleeping in shelters – anywhere."
Netanyahu further spoke of the unrest sweeping through the Middle East: "Everything is lurching, it's an earthquake… all I know is that there is one stable country in the region, one safe country, one free, thriving country and that is the State of Israel."
One people, free and Strong
Earlier Thursday, the prime minister posted a Passover greeting on his YouTube channel, wishing "a happy holiday and kosher Passover to all."
Passover, he added, "Is the most unique Jewish holiday to me, and I am sure to you, too. It dates back thousands of years and asserts one fundamental thing: There is no existence without freedom… Only after the Israelites freed themselves from Pharaoh, arrived in Israel and established themselves as a free, sovereign nation, was the existence of the Jewish people secure.
"We have essentially learned this lesion throughout our years in exile. We were not free… we were, at times, subject to the murderous caprices of other nations and they sought to destroy us… Only when we managed to return to the Promised Land, were we able to once again secure our future."
Israel's future, he concluded, is secure "not because no one seeks to destroy us… but because we have the unique national power of a nation that is sovereign and free to defend itself. Being free – that is what Passover is all about."
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