Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Affirms Support for two State Solution at 2015 Herzliya Conference
The Middle East's leading security & policy gathering has concluded
The turmoil in the Middle East presents an opportunity for new alliances that can help bring about a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an hour long address at the closing of the 2015 Herzliya Conference.
"I committed to two states at Bar Ilan," he said. "The solution as I see it is a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state," Netanyahu said.
"The Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state. But they won't recognize a Jewish state for the Jewish people. That's what we want. Mutual recognition," he added.
Netanyahu said the crisis engulfing much of the Arab world presents an opportunity for Israel to form new alliances. "The trepidation of the Sunni states from Iran on the one hand, and Isis on the other, creates potential for cooperation," he said.
"Perhaps it could help resolve the problem we want to resolve with the Palestinians. Because I don't want a one state solution," he said.
He also spoke about danger of an Arab arms race in response to a nuclear Iran. Some states will seek nuclear weapons of their own, he said, while each of them will substantially increase their stocks of conventional weapons.
"It won't make Israel safer," he said, regarding the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. He said he's spoken to Arab leaders, and "no one believes that this deal with block Iran's path to the bomb, or many bombs."
Netanyahu also noted that Iran has been involved in "cyberattacks on Saudi Arabia, and even the United States".
Netanyahu also outlined an economic development program, with the goal of raising Israel growth rate to 5%.
The program is based on developing new markets in areas such as China and India, developing new products in areas such as cyber security, improving telecommunications and transportation for greater connectivity online and between regions of Israel, and developing Israel's natural energy resources.
"There is no security without a strong economy," he said. "And there is no prosperity without growth."
Preceding Netanyahu, Former Prime Minister and Former Minister of Defense Lt. Gen. (res.) Ehud Barak discussed the issue of the international legitimacy of Israel and its challenge facing the BDS movement.
Barak argued that only the core of the BDS movement is against Israel for what it is, regardless the actions it takes. "We must today create a barrier between the millions in the free world and the hard nucleus of BDS. A government that operates decisively to separate from the Palestinians shifts the attention to the Palestinians."
"The international legitimacy is fundamental source of power for Israel nowadays. Had Israel been willing to concentrate the building in settlement blocks and stop it outside of it, fundamentally changes Israel's situation. The lack of distinction between settlement blocks and outside them is very dangerous. The building beyond this settlement blocks essentially endangers the settlements themselves."
Barak also called for a regional arrangement, including the moderate Arab countries, The Palestinians and Israel. "Against the Palestinians Israel can mostly give. In front of the entire Arab world, Israel can get a lot. This is the source of a great opportunity of a regional arrangement."
Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)