...My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace...The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East. This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace...We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.
I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.
This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.
This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.
But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.
...So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of the Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.
You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.
They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.
My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said… "I will accept a Palestinian state." It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… "I will accept a Jewish state."
Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.
This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.
These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.
The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by all those who are serious about peace. In any real peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We will be generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.
I want to be very clear on this point. Israel will be generous on the size of the Palestinians state but we'll be very firm on where we put the border with it. This is an important principle. It shouldn't be lost.
...the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.
As for Jerusalem...Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.
This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.
So peace must be anchored in security...if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute...we aren’t going to live that way... either...Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway...Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.
So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is absolutely vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.
...Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end. I appreciate the President’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.
And Hamas is not a partner for peace...Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.
So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so...
Palestinians: Netanyahu peace outline unacceptable
...Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu's insistence on keeping key parts of the territories the Palestinians want for their state is a "declaration of war against the Palestinians."
...The Palestinians have developed an alternate strategy to moribund negotiations, largely on hold since 2008, and have said they will seek U.N. recognition of their state in September. Shaath said the Palestinians would continue to pursue these strategies. "We have nothing but to continue our struggle in the international arena and to continue building our state and to continue our popular struggle," he said, referring to demonstrations and protests against Israel. "We don't have a partner for peace," he said.
..."What Netanyahu said in his speech tonight is a clear rejection of the suggestions of President Obama concerning the borders of 1967," said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh. "Actually, what he did is that he put more obstacles in the path of peace."
In Gaza, the Islamic militant Hamas was equally critical. "Netanyahu denied us all our rights," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman. "We must work to adopt an Arab and Palestinian strategy based on the right of resistance."
...Dani Dayan, head of the West Bank settlers' council, said he "really did not like" Netanyahu's admission that some settlements will be outside Israel's final borders. "I console myself with it being theoretical because of course nothing will grow from this move," he told Israel's Channel 2 TV...
...And then Netanyahu demonstrated that the fuss over settlements was pointless. “I am willing to make painful compromises,” he said. He acknowledged publicly that he understands that Israel will have to give up some of the land of biblical Israel to attain peace. In other words, a settlement freeze is irrelevant because he will, consistent with security, uproot some Jews in the West Bank. He made clear that Israel has already uprooted roadblocks, withdrawn from Gaza and assisted in economic development for the West Bank.
Oh, the heckler was
Jewish-American activist identified as Rae Abileah, a 28-year-old of Israeli descent and member of the group CODEPINK.