Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that Israel must maintain its military control over the West Bank in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
“The idea that we can give up territory and achieve peace is not right,” Netanyahu told Army Radio in a pre-Shavuot holiday interview.
“In order to assure our existence we need to have military and security control over all of the territory west of the Jordan [River],” he said, reaffirming his commitment to a policy that is rejected by Palestinians, who seek a full Israeli withdrawal from the territory.
Even before 1967 the Arabs “wanted to get rid of us from Tel Aviv, and after we pulled out of Gaza [in 2005] they [still] want to get rid of us from Tel Aviv,” Netanyahu said. The prime minister said that when Israel proposed to the Palestinians that it relinquish all the territory they want as long as they give up on the right of return for Palestinians who fled in 1948, “they squirm in their seats and are not prepared to give an answer.”
“The root of this problem was and still is that continued refusal by the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a the homeland of the Jewish people in any borders,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli seek peace, but the Palestinians are stuck in their attitude of “not setting up a state but rather negating the existence of a state, the Jewish state,” the prime minister insisted.
As soon as that is changed, “then there is hope for peace, because you can’t build peace on a foundation of lies,” he said.
“There is no nation that knows the price of war more than we do — we want a real peace,” Netanyahu added.