Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with representatives of the foreign media in Israel on Monday, denouncing the hypocrisy that has come to dominate the international community’s handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"This weekend Hamas leaders openly called for Israel's destruction. Where was the outrage? Where was the UN? Where was Abbas?” Netanyahu demanded. “Why did Palestinian diplomats not only remain silent in the face of these calls, but spoke of the intention to unite with Hamas?”
“There was only deafening silence,” asserted the prime minister.
“We cannot accept that the international community has no problem denouncing Israeli intentions of building Jewish homes in the nation's historic capital of Jerusalem but remains silent as Palestinian leaders openly call for Israel’s destruction,” Netanyahu said.
“But Israel will not remain silent. We will continue to defend our rights against those who seek to deny our past and delete our future,” he continued. “We will continue to tell the truth about our rights in this country and will continue to defend ourselves against our enemies who seek our destruction.”
Netanyahu said there were five main issues with which he dealt during the four years of his term - Iran, which he brought to the world's consciousness, was the first. As far as the second, the threat of missiles is concerned, he noted that Hizbullah quadrupled irs store of missiles to 60,000 since signing UN Resolution 1701 which ended the Second Lebanon War and was supposed to prevent that buildup. On the other hand, Hamas now has half of the number of missiles it had just one month ago, down from 10,000 to 5000 due to the recent IDF operation. He praised Israel's Iron Dome, later jokingly calling the kippah he placed on his head as Minister Yuli Edelstein lit the Hanukkah candles, his own Iron Dome.
After reporting on the other major issues of his term, cyber warfare, infiltration and attempts to start negotiations with the PA, Netanyahu good humoredly fielded several questions from the audience.
The head of the BBC's bureau asked the PM whether he does not regret his lack of rapport with Obama during the last four years. Netanyahu praised the US President's support duirng IDF Operation Pillar of Defense, but the bureau chief repeated that he was talking about the past. "Everyone regrets things", the PM retorted, "Don't you?" The BBC chief fired back caustically with "but I am not a Prime Minister". "Well, " said Netanyahu, unruflled, "why don't you try for it? You might make it," as the audience chuckled.
One of the questions was about how Bibi feels about the coming elections. "Polls today showed that 81% of Israelis feel that you will be the next Prime Minister", said one of the newsmen. "Could you let me hear that again, please", responded the PM, smiling broadly.
Netanyahu’s remarks come as leaders of the European Union met in Brussels to discuss their response to the Israeli government's decision to build thousands of new Jewish housing units in the strategically essential are of E1, located between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim. The Prime Minister, answering a question from a Chinese newsperson on the issue, explained that every Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Rabin and Olmert, wanted to build in that strategically crucial area.