“ Citizens of Israel …
I may not be a religious man but I still feel it’s appropriate to give thanks to the Almighty for delivering us from the evil which has assailed our people over the last two months and for opening our eyes to the murderous plans of Hamas for a tunnel-led massacre of our southern families during the upcoming Rosh Hashana holiday.
The stunning success of our Iron Dome missile defence system prompted one terrorist leader to cry: “Their God is grabbing our rockets out of the sky!”
Well, if our enemies believe so strongly in our God, who am I not to?
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has lamented that there was no Iron Dome protection for the people of Gaza.
I say there was!
It was OUR Iron Dome which saved thousands of Gaza citizens. If Hamas rockets had reached their targets in our cities, our schools and our airport we would have been obliged to immediately flatten Gaza in the same way as Britain, America and Russia have carpet-bombed other parts of the world for a lot less than basic survival.
I would like to thank the American people and Congress for their partnership in our Iron Dome project and for the other support which is so essential to maintaining our qualitative edge over the enemies which surround us.
At the same time I am pained by the decision of the Obama administration to sign an eleven billion dollar arms deal with Qatar, which is the outspoken patron and paymaster of Hamas and host of its leader Khaled Mashaal. I believe the American people would not have approved such a deal if they knew the truth about Qatar. Even more painful was to find out that this record-breaking arms deal was signed just 6 weeks ago when rockets funded by the Emir of Qatar were being fired indiscriminately on our people.
But now to the main part of my message today.
Five years ago I stood at Bar Ilan university in Tel Aviv and declared my support for a Two-State Solution; a demilitarized Palestinian state living side-by-side with our Jewish state. I did so at great political risk, causing deep divisions within my Likud party which are still not healed. Since that time I have made further sacrifices including settlement freezes and, most painfully, by releasing hundreds of unrepentant killers of our people.
Ask me what I have received in return – and the answer is zero.
In truth it is less than zero. After all these concessions and the confidence-building measures requested by our American friends and members of the Quartet, I was rewarded with a peace treaty not between me and Mr Abbas, but between Mr Abbas and Hamas. This was followed by aggressive moves by Mr Abbas to force statehood on us through applications to UN bodies. And all that whilst his new allies were quietly tunnelling towards a bloody massacre of our citizens in the South.
We have watched as every inch of territory given away by us in the cause of peace has been planted with weapons for our annihilation. Now that I have witnessed the very real threat to Ben Gurion Airport from as far away as Gaza, I am simply not prepared to take the same risk in the West Bank, literally underneath the glidepath.
Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same process again and again and expecting a different result. We are not so insane as to risk the lives of millions of our citizens in the narrow coastal strip or compromise our air travel and vital commercial links by repeating the mistakes of South Lebanon and Gaza in the West Bank.
Therefore, in contrast to the many West Bank freezes I have imposed on our own people in the vain hope of genuine reciprocity, I am here to announce a different kind of freeze. This is a freeze on the Two State Solution.
Since my 2009 speech, I have watched the Arab world turned upside down. Whilst the ‘Arab Spring’ unsettled 2/3rds of the Arab states in the region, its effects have loomed largest in our nearest neighbours. To the south we have seen Egypt go through two government overthrows. To the north we see the Syrian civil war enter its 4th year with a death toll of 180,000 and a refugee count now surpassing 3 million.
And that Syrian conflict has spawned the new phenomenon of ISIS which has destabilised Iraq and now seriously threatens our eastern neighbour Jordan.
Even before the Gaza rocket war it would have been a gross understatement to say that life in this neighbourhood is not the same as it was when I made that speech in 2009.
During the Gaza conflict we saw the true and genocidal face of Hamas, not just against us but to its own people in their open use of women and children as human shields and the sacrificing of their lives just to grab headlines. ISIS shows the same scant regard for the lives of innocents and now uses the most graphic forms of killing to grab even greater media attention.
Life will soon be returning to normal in Gaza. And normal means the reopening of UN schools whose Hamas staffers have never stopped teaching Jew-hatred to eternalise this conflict.
So I am freezing all talk and negotiation of a Two-State Solution for the next 12 months to give Mr Abbas the chance to prove he is not with Hamas and ISIS or just another puppet of Iran, Qatar or the Muslim Brotherhood.
He can make a start by eradicating all incitement from classrooms under his control and from TV programming. Just 12 months without the poisoning of children’s minds is capable of making a major impact for the good. I want to see Mr Abbas cancel his pact with Hamas and withdraw his applications to UN bodies seeking imposed solutions as if we genuinely did not exist. I want him to recognise our existence as a Jewish state in its biblical homeland. Most of all I want to see him take sides between the darkness of Hamas, Hezbullah and ISIS and the bright future that awaits a people committing itself to peace in word and deed.
Ladies and gentlemen, my 2009 speech was delivered at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
This time I have chosen to address you from the University of Ariel in Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank. I do so to emphasise that this area is no less legal Israeli territory than Tel Aviv. Its legitimacy ranks two thousand years ahead of America’s claim to Indian Arizona or Britain’s claim to Celtic Cornwall.
Israel was our homeland centuries before the birth of Islam. And for as long as the Bible remains a bestseller, our title deed is secure.
Whilst this is and remains OUR land, we have a generous spirit and are prepared to share it in peace with our neighbours. Just as we opened the holy sites in Jerusalem to all the world’s faiths for the first time in centuries.
But we will share this land only with people who demonstrate we can trust them.
Such people will not have a charter to annihilate us. Such people will not be partners to those who rocket our cities. Such people will not name their streets after terrorists. And above all, such people will recognise and respect us for who we are.
I hope to return to this podium in a year from now and be able to report progress in all these areas. If not I shall come anyway, just to revisit the students and remind them that this is our God-given land and that we shall never again be removed from it.
Shana Tova. May we be blessed with a more peaceful New Year. ”