Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is standing firm on a stance he took in 2009, at the start of his current tenure in office: that for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to “live side by side in peace” the PA must demilitarize and recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People.
It has done neither, nor has its government expressed any intent to do so in the future. Instead, the PA has deliberately brainwashed an entire generation to grow up as future jihadists and anti-Israel terrorists. Its leaders continue to glorify killers with Jewish and Israeli blood on their hands, honoring them by marking events, public streets and other venues in their names. Social media campaigns, sermons in the mosques, school textbooks and government-approved children’s television programs all continue to eliminate any existence of the State of Israel and encourage murderous attacks against Jews and Israelis. Enticing children and teens’ summer camps featuring special military training are promoted every year. Families of convicted terrorists and those who die in attempted attacks enjoy a generous, guaranteed government-paid monthly income for life.
So why would a PA child or teen not want to grow up to kill Israelis? Why would any adolescent with the normal hormonal shifts of the teenage years not find solace after a fight with a parent, sibling or friend in reaching eternal peace and family honor as a shahid (Islamic war martyr)?
In such an environment, peace cannot even sprout, let alone blossom. Both Netanyahu and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog long ago reached this conclusion, albeit via different paths.
Netanyahu told the Knesset in its session on Wednesday the PA has yet to meet even the basic requirements for a final status agreement. He favors a two-state solution, he said – but practically speaking, it’s just not possible unless PA leaders meet the two basic requirements.
“The first principle is mutual recognition,” the prime minister said. “The Palestinian Authority demands we recognize a national state of theirs; and they will also have to recognize our national state, in any peace agreement. It is only natural for them to give us what they wish for themselves.”
In addition, the PA must demilitarize. “The Palestinian areas must be demilitarized of forces hostile to Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Nevertheless, negotiations were not precluded from the equation. The prime minister noted that talks have been launched in the past without these conditions having been met.
“I want to clarify once again for the thousandth time that I did not condition the start of negotiations on the acceptance of these principles,” he said.
“Rather, I made it clear that in order to complete the negotiations successfully, these principles had to be fulfilled.”
Netanyahu emphasized that only Israel can enforce such demilitarization, a point that both the United States and the European Union have repeatedly attempted to invalidate.
“Experience shows that neither the UN nor an international force but only the IDF and Israel’s security agencies can ensure this demilitarization. Israel must continue to be the force responsible for security on the ground,” he said.
“There is no security separation. None. It doesn’t exist,” Netanyahu said, responding to claims by the Opposition that “total separation” will ensure peace and can ensure Israel’s safety.
Herzog, as chairman of the Zionist Union party and leader of the Opposition had advocated for “total separation” — but reluctantly he too has told reporters in the past several weeks that a two-state solution is “just not possible at this point.”
“Israel must be responsible for its security,” Netanyahu underlined. Without the two basic requirements of a demilitarized Palestinian Authority state, and mutual recognition of each other’s right to a “homeland” Netanyahu made it clear that Israel cannot gamble with the lives of its citizens.
Hana Levi Julian