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Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Netanyahu: 'We don't miss diplomatic opportunities, we create them'
After hearing the opposition accuse him of ignoring the chance for regional cooperation, failing to represent Israeli interests and preferring an Israeli apartheid, Netanyahu responds by listing his work to strengthen ties with other nations and his achievements in improving Israel's security and economy; 'have these diplomatic opportunities created on their own?' asks Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced a lengthy barrage of attacks from the Left and Center during a special Knesset session on Monday, and when it was over, he went up to answer them.

 

 

While sitting through the session, which dealt with "the Israeli government's political challenge in light of new opportunities that have been created", Netanyahu heard MKs from Meretz, the Joint List, the Zionist Union and Yesh Atid accuse him of ignoring the chance for regional cooperation, being distracted in the face of multiple investigations, failing to represent Israel's prerogative in the recently negotiated ceasefire in Syria and generally preferring an Israeli apartheid over peace.

 

Netanyahu began his rebuttal by saying, "Gentlemen, let's agree once and for all the there is no diplomatic tsunami or diplomatic isolation, but a diplomatic renaissance. And to touch upon what's going on in our region—we don't miss diplomatic opportunities, we create opportunities.

 

Netanyahu during his speech (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Netanyahu during his speech (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

 

"We'll talk about the challenges and respond to the admonitions in a moment, but regarding the diplomatic opportunities that have been created—have these diplomatic opportunities created on their own? The achievements, if there some, fell from heaven?

 

"Let me tell you something about a few other opportunities," he continued. "This morning I was visited in my office by a special emissary from my friend, Japanese Prime Minister Shinz ō Abe, who was reelected. The emissary delivered an invitation to visit Japan, if possible by the end of the year. He also informed me that over the past three years, Japanese investments in Israel have grown 20 times over, due to the meetings and encouragement that Abe and myself give each other—of course, with the help of ministers and MKs and others."

 

"Yesterday I received a warm letter from another friend, US President Donald Trump, thanking me for the support we've given to the US stance against the Iran nuclear deal, which basically says—either fix it or nix it. For those MKs who haven't been following—this was the position I presented before Congress, then to the UN, and then during a phone conversation with Trump.

 

Trump and Netanyahu
Trump and Netanyahu

 

"A week ago, I got another letter, a warm letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who praised the relationship building between China and Israel. I'd like to mention here the importance of a technological cooperation agreement.

 

"Two weeks earlier, I had a conversation with another friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a matter of importance to Israeli security.

 

"In a few weeks, I'll be heading to India at the invitation of a friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Another opportunity.

 

Netanyahu and Modi (Photo: Shaul Golan)
Netanyahu and Modi (Photo: Shaul Golan)

 

"This weekend, I spoke on the phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi," said Netanyahu, referring to the conversation as "important."

 

He added that "countries are lining up to strengthen ties with us. This is happening everyday.

 

"For obvious reasons, I cannot divulge the details of everything we're doing to tighten relations with various entities around us." He stated that "we stand shoulder to shoulder with moderate nations in the Arab world, be it against Iran or ISIS. This coming closer is good for security, and I believe it will eventually also be good for peace.

 

"My friends in the opposition," said Netanyahu from the Knesset podium. "Hearing your speeches of admonishment, I have to tell you that honestly, there's nothing new here. You've wanted me to leave this position from the first day after I was elected. That's how it was the first time, the second, the third and the fourth. I wonder what it'll be like the fifth time. What excuse will it be? So really, there's nothing new here, only the excuse changes. But what can you do? Prime ministers are only replaced at the voting booths."

 

 (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
(Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

 

Netanyahu also mentioned improving Israel's economy and successfully bridging the socio-economic gaps among members of Israeli society."The interesting thing is that you can see a steady, continuous decline (in inequality—ed), year after year, from 2009. And who was elected in 2009?" It was Netanyahu. "The gaps in Israeli society are shrinking year after year, and why? Because we've been creating growth, which in turn creates jobs, leading to lower unemployment and people making a living.

 

"We've been nurturing military and intelligence power," said Netanyahu toward the end of his speech. "This necessitates a great deal of money, which also comes from growth. The combination of technological-economic power, with military-intelligence power, create the third power that is international power—a great international, diplomatic power the likes of which Israel has never had."

 

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