Netanyahu speech: Yes to demilitarized Palestinian state
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged the Palestinian Authority to resume peace negotiations without preconditions, in a foreign policy speech at a university near Tel Aviv.
"I call on you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority: Let us begin peace negotiations immediately, without preconditions," he said. "Israel is committed to international agreements and expects all the other parties to fulfill their obligations as well."
The Israeli leader also declared that he was prepared to see the creation of a Palestinian state, so long as the international community can guarantee that it not have any military capabilities. "Israel cannot agree to a Palestinian state unless it gets guarantees it is demilitarized," Netanyahu said. According to him, Jerusalem must remain the unified capital of Israel. He also called for increased economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians to promote peace efforts.
The Israeli leader added he was ready to meet with the leaders of neighboring Arab countries at any time, to promote regional peace and to gain their contribution to the Palestinian economy.
Netanyahu reiterated that Israel has no desire to control the Palestinian people, and declared that both nations should be able to live side by side in peace. "We want both Israeli and Palestinian children to live without war," Netanyahu said, but added: "We must ask ourselves - why has peace not yet arrived after 60 years?"
Israel would not accept any situation in which it was forced to exist beside a "terrorist" state. Every withdrawal from settlement territories would contribute to such "terror", said Netanyahu. He stressed that Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state.
"When Palestinians are ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, we will be ready for a true final settlement," the Israeli premier said.
Netanyahu said that Israel would not negotiate with "terrorist" who wish to destroy it, and said that Palestinians must choose between path of peace and Hamas.
During the speech, Netanyahu vowed that Israel would not build any new settlements and would refrain from expanding existing Israeli communities in the West Bank.