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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Netanyahu: 'Palestinians ruining peace bids by refusing to recognize Israel'

Actually, what the Palestinians refuse to recognize is the right of Israel to exist as the state of the Jewish people.
'Palestinians ruining peace bids by refusing to recognize Israel'
By Haaretz Service
The catalyst behind the long-lasting dispute between Israel and the Palestinians is the latter's unwillingness to recognize Israel's right to exist, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview to Israel Radio on Sunday.
When asked whether he thought the original sin of Israeli society was the occupation since 1967 of the West Bank, Netanyahu said that "the original sin was that the Jewish people couldn't protect itself from the verbal and physical assaults which ultimately brought to its destruction."
"I think that in 1967 the Jewish people were on the brink of destruction and the sin would have been our inability to defend ourselves the way we wanted to," the PM added, saying that he regretted "the fact that our glorious victory is presented as the mother of all sin."

Netanyahu said, however, that Israel does "not want to control the Palestinians, we want to reach a settlement," but that the reason for the peace talk stalemate isn't "because of the State of Israel but because of the other side's persistent refusal to recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist."
"I believe that the things I am doing to make that point clearer will lead to their recognition of Israel's right to exist, which will remove the malignant element preventing the peace we want so dearly," the PM added.
On word of an agreement between the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama on a future construction freeze in all West Bank settlements, the PM said that "no decision has been made, and we have not reached an agreement with the United States."
"There are a lot of rumors and a lot of newspaper articles, none of which are my responsibility. We haven't agreed to anything yet, we are still working toward advancing peace talks while safeguarding settlers' rights, who are equal citizens," Netanyahu said.
"Any decision is bound to disappoint someone, every side saying you should have done things differently, but I will conduct myself in the way I believe will promote Israel and peace, something which is ultimately appreciated by civilians as well as Knesset Members."
Regarding comments made by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who told a closed-door meeting of far-right activists a few weeks ago that he was "not afraid of the Americans" and that anti-settlement groups like Peace Now were "viruses" to Israel, Netanyahu made it clear that he found those remarks unacceptable.
"I've discussed the matter with minister Ya'alon and he made it clear to me that that was not his intention. I assume he will never use that term again," Netanyahu said.
"The Left is not a virus, settlers are not a cancer. We have legitimate disagreements, but we must maintain our unity by respecting our political adversaries."
When asked about his 1999 comment, that the "Left forgot what it meant to be Jewish" the PM said that "It was a mistake then, and it's still a mistake."
"Of course I have changed, it's the result of age and wisdom, both of which tell me one thing - we are one people and I am the prime minister of all of us."

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