After a long break, the Knesset went back to work Monday for its winter session. Opening the session was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who spoke from the podium about a variety of issues, including Iran and the possibility of a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
Netanyahu discussed the Iranian nuclear program, saying that it was a threat not only to Israel's security, but to the world's security.
“The entire region will be endangered, as will the world,” if Iran attains nuclear weapons, he said. “However, there is no doubt that we will be Iran's first target. The Iranians say this out loud. We will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” he said.
There are a number of crucial laws set to come up for a vote during the winter session, including laws to draft hareidi youths, and a law to require a referendum for any withdrawals of land. Netanyahu discussed these in his speech. Regarding the draft law, Netanyahu said that he expected it to pass.
“We will divide the burden of defending the country among all parts of the population, while ensuring the unity of the people.” He hoped, he said, that the opposition would support the law.
Regarding security and negotiations with the PA, the Prime Minister said that if an agreement is signed, it will be one that promises Israel a long-term, stable peace. “How is it that when the Palestinians demand that we recognize their nationhood that they refuse to recognize ours,” Netanyahu asked. “The Jewish people have been in existence for 4,000 years. Why do we not deserve recognition?”
Netanyahu also dismissed voices in Israel that said PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish state was unnecessary. “The question is not why we are raising this point, but why the Palestinians continue to delay an agreement over this.”
“We are working very hard to end the conflict with the Palestinians,” the Prime Minister said. “I am not fooling myself into believing that this will be easy, but I am determined to come to an agreement that will not sacrifice Israel's national interests in order to get a nice headline in the newspaper, or to receive international applause.”