Benjamin Netanyahu Calls Peace Process “Vital” To Israel


IPT

Benjamin Netanyahu, recognizing the importance of the peace process to the survival and identity of Israel as a Jewish State, has said it is a “vital” to Israel and included the phrase “strategic interest”.  Netanyahu thanked US Secretary of State John Kerry for his “great efforts” and expects the talks to be held “in a serious and respectful manner.” Initial talks are to be held in the US in the next week or two. Prior to this announcement, and as part of the agreement, Israel said it would free a number of Palestinian prisoners “including some heavyweight prisoners in jail for decades.”  It’s a goodwill gesture on the part of the Israeli’s that will also allow Mahmoud Abbas to score some points with his supporters.  It’s crucial he do that since there are no pre-conditions to these talks such as settlement freezes.  Yuval Steinitz, minister for international relations agreed with the release of up to 350 Palestinian prisoners who are to be released in stages.  But he also made it clear that Israel had not accepted any Palestinian preconditions, “There is no chance that we will agree to enter any negotiations that begin with
defining territorial borders or concessions by Israel, nor a construction freeze.”  Israel is at a cross roads.  No longer can she afford to sit back and attempt to outlast the Palestinians. Without brave and courageous leaders on both sides, this stalemate will continue.  Palestinians deserve a state and Israel deserves peace and security.  The Middle East is not what it was when Israel was established in 1948.  It’s not what it was in the 70’s and 80’s. Israel today enjoys strong relationships with Jordan, Turkey, despite some setbacks and Egypt, even with the ongoing crisis.  No one in that part of the world wants to see that change.  Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai understand that Islamic extremists pose a much greater threat to their security than does Israel.  So if Netanyahu has the courage to move forward, there is little doubt the majority of the Muslim/Arab world would be happy to back the process. Syria and Iran are of course not included. In sum, Israel is no longer threatened by the Arab states other than Iran, but so are the other Arab countries.  Israel has nuclear weapons and can very easily defend itself.  Finally, the world, led by the United States would never permit Israel’s demise.  So it’s time to move forward.  Israel no longer has any legitimate reason not to.

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