Speaking at the Makor Rishon Economic, Society and Innovation Conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We are dealing with the threat from Gaza, and if necessary we will carry out a major operation to defeat this terrorism once and for all. They received a sample several weeks ago. I do not suggest that they wait for the next portion. It will come if they continue.”
“There will be no arrangement if the firing does not stop for good. If it does not stop for good, in the end there will be a decisive operation,” Netanyahu warned.
On Iran, the PM said: “We are leading a relentless effort for sanctions on Iran, pressure on Iran, opposition to Iran, and active and military opposition to its attempts to entrench on our border. In effect, we are leading a global effort against Iran that also finds expression in my latest talks with President Trump and President Putin last week, and also with US Secretary of State Pompeo. My first three missions in all such talks are Iran, Iran and Iran.”
Netanyahu also said Israel would benefit from a military pact with the United States. “We can achieve a historic defensive alliance; I can achieve this. This is what I intend to do – with God’s help – in the coming months. We must work for this with full force. This is a tremendous opportunity.”
It should be noted that many current and former security officials as well as security experts in Israel have objected to the idea of a defensive alliance with the US, which they warn would restrict Israel’s ability to use its power in the region. They also point to past allies of the US, such as Taiwan, which were informed one sunny day they were no longer allies.
Netanyahu then spoke about his plan to annex the Jordan Valley, having neglected to do it over his 13 years as PM, a time that included three years under the friendly Trump administration.
“The second opportunity is to finally determine our eastern border, to apply Israeli law on the Jordan Valley and to do so with international recognition, i.e. American recognition,” Netanyahu said. “It is not wise just to annex, even though this is an important step which, to my regret, is impossible for a transitional government. For a future government, of whatever kind, it is possible. This is a legal restriction. However, it is not enough.”
“Just as I wanted American recognition for our sovereignty over the Golan Heights, I want American recognition for our sovereignty over the Jordan Valley,” Netanyahu claimed. “This is important. It has been said that we did not formally discuss the plan; true, it has not yet come up. But the subject has been discussed.”
Despite denials from the State Dept., Netanyahu repeated his claim regarding his discussing the Jordan Valley annexation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He added: “And I intend to raise it before the Trump administration. The time has come to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and to also arrange the status of all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, those within the blocs and those not within the blocs. They will be part of the State of Israel.”
“We have been obliged to struggle against American administrations that did not see eye-to-eye with us on our rights in the Land of Israel, on settlement in the Land of Israel. I had to devote all of my energy to this struggle, at the same time to the struggle against Iran, in order to defend the settlement enterprise,” Netanyahu reminisced. “It has been said to me crudely – ‘Not even one brick’ in Judea and Samaria. I will not begin to describe the pressures, which no Prime Minister of Israel has faced, some of which have been published and some of which have not, but I did not give in. I rejected the pressures.”
“The Jewish population in Judea and Samaria has grown – and has doubled. Hundreds of thousands have been added,” said Netanyahu, under whose reign construction in Judea and Samaria settlements has been frozen most of the time.
“By the way, we have not expelled anyone and we have not uprooted anyone,” Netanyahu boasted before the largely rightwing, religious audience, saying: “This required a great diplomatic effort.”
Of course, the PM disregarded quite a number of forced removals of Jewish settlers from their homes during his time in office, under pressure not from diplomatic sources by from Israel’s own high court of justice.