Daily Israel Report

Bibi: No Early Elections

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entered his fourth year as Israel's leader saying he had too many plans to consider early elections now.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/3/2012, 7:04 PM

Netanyahu
Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday marked his fourth year in office saying "I will not initiate early elections."

"I'm not afraid of it, but I won't initiate it," Netanyahu said during an hour long press conference in Jerusalem.  His ruling Likud party – which currently holds 27 seats in the Knesset – is polling at 32 seats.

"We are leading an unprecedented international campaign against Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons," he explained. "I do not know of an easy way to solve the Iranian problem."

"We will attack those who threaten to attack us," he added, referring not only to the Iranian threat but to the threats of rockets from the Gaza Strip.

"I want to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians," Netanyahu said. "But I also want to ensure the existence of the Jewish state, and that means there can be no binational state. This requires negotiation. There is no way to end the conflict if you do not start talking."

But "if we lose control of our borders, we will lose control over our future," Netanyahu added.

He added that the "Palestinians are the ones who have chosen not to negotiate for three years," adding that he hoped they would alter course and return to negotiations.

"Only those who can act on the world stage can lead the State of Israel," he added, referring to initiatives by opposition leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) and Labor-party leader Shelly Yechimovitch.

"I declare that what is needed, but who determines our path is the Israeli public. Israel's public will determine the leaders and the leadership that he will decide," Netanyahu stressed.

Netanyahu also addressed the social protest movement saying he did underestimate the real problems Israel faces.

"Last summer's protest raised real issues," Netanyahu said, adding "We have accomplished much and we have adopted the principles of the Trachtenberg committee."

Netanyahu added his government does not control fuel price, explaining global commodity prices dictated fuel costs. He also noted his government has reduced the price of gasoline by 88 cents, but could do little more.

He noted Israel's fuel tax is already lower than that in leading European countries. "You cannot make something out of nothing. There has to be a balance."

Netanyahu also said that for Israel's economy to grow and competition to flourish it needed to disallow monopolies and cartels.

Netanyahu also said his government is encouraging the Arabs and haredim in the labor market with billions in investments.

"This will remove the poverty," he said. "Its a reasonable way to reduce the problem."