Netanyahu’s latest speech:

June 15, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu endorsed the idea of an independent Palestinian state for the first time on Sunday—but under conditions which have already been rejected by Palestinian leadership.

 These conditions include:

 -a demilitarized Palestinian state with no army and no control of its airspace

-recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, which amounts to giving up the Right of Return     for Palestinian refugees who were expelled in 1948

-continued ‘natural growth’ in illegal West Bank settlements

-Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of Israel, including occupied East Jerusalem

 “In my vision of peace, two people live in good neighborly relations, each with their own flag…neither threaten the other’s security,” Netanyahu said during his speech.

 “If we receive this guarantee regarding the demilitarization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.”

 Netanyahu clearly addressed the Right of Return for Palestinians saying “there must also be a clear understanding that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel’s borders.  For it is clear that any demand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel’s continued existence as a state of the Jewish people.”

 Mustafa Barghouthi, leader of Palestinian National Initiative, remarked on Netanyahu’s insistence of Palestine’s recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

 “It’s not a state of Jewish people alone.  It’s a state of Palestinians who live there as well, it should be a state of all its people, that’s what civilized people think and that’s what democracy is all about.”

 “If we call Israel a Jewish state and Spain as a Catholic state and some other country as a Muslim state, then where do we move?  The truth here is that 20 percent of the population of Israel today are Palestinians, who originally lived there, before the creation of the state of Israel when this whole land was called Palestine.  To say this is a Jewish state means nothing besides consolidating racism and apartheid.”

 Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Abbas, said “Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralyzed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab, and American positions.”

 U.S. President Obama, on the other hand, calls Netanyahu’s speech an “important step forward.” 

 His spokesman Robert Gibbs said “the President is committed to two states, a Jewish state of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historical homeland of both peoples.”

 “He believes this solution can and must ensure both Israel’s security and the fulfillment of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for a viable state, and he welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endorsement of that goal.”

 Barghouthi relates Netanyahu’s idea of an independent Palestinian state to the ghettos of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa.  

 “He did not speak about a state, he spoke about a ghetto, a Bantustan, where people had self-governing authority.  Even in one Bantustan under the apartheid system they had a king but that meant nothing.  Today, what Mr. Netanyahu is presenting is nothing more than the model of Ghetto and Bantustan.  But now he wants to call it a state.”

 “But tell me what is the value of a state that has no sovereignty; that remains under the control of the Israeli side?  I do not see anything new in this approach; on the contrary, I see something more malignant in his approach.”

 Despite previous agreements, international law, and American insistence that settlement construction stop, Netanyahu said he will continue to allow ‘natural growth’ in the settlements—to allow “mothers and fathers to raise their children.”

 Abbas stressed that he will not resume negotiations with Israel until all construction in the illegal settlements in the West Bank has stopped.

 Saeb Erekat, Palestinian senior negotiator, called on Obama to enforce previous agreements made by Israel that include freezing settlement construction. 

 “The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise.  Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back.”


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