Erdan: Peace Only Possible with Mutual Concessions

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan discusses peace process, outlines two major challenges facing Israel today: security and illegal immigration.

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Yedida Ben Or, Cynthia Blank,

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan
Interior Minister Gilad Erdan
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) spoke Thursday at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference where he outlined the present and major challenges facing Israel.

The first challenge, Erdan noted, is security, particularly Islamic State which poses a threat not just to Israel, but the entire world. "Let's not be naive. The Islamic threat will not stop until the flag of Islam flies atop the White House. "

Continuing, Erdan enthusiastically gave support to the US Air Force's airstrikes against ISIS, but reiterated that Israel is not naive, because it understands that it is in the direct line of fire from the Islamist threat. 

He exclaimed: "The radical difference between us and them is we use weapons to protect children; they use children to protect weapons." 

Erdan stressed that precisely at a conference such as this, with representatives from Israel, the United States, and other parts of the world, we should rally together to fight "the common battle for the values we all cherish." 

The second challenge Erdan discussed was that of illegal immigration to Israel. 

While stressing that Israel tries to take care of these immigrants, mostly Sudanese and Eritrean, to the best of its abilities, a policy should be in place to regulate the existence of these groups within Israeli borders.

"It is our obligation to the Israeli public. We have the right to defend our borders and protect the welfare of our residents," Erdan stated. 

Erdan then addressed the stagnant peace process, arguing that it must be approached without fantasies and delusions and that "peace is only possible with concessions by both sides." 

While Israel has made many concessions in the past, he argued, the country still faces terrorist threats and peace has not been achieved. Erdan added that if Israel gives up more land now - the Golan Heights for instance - Hamas and Al-Qaeda would be swimming in Sea of Galilee. 

Israel can only go back to the negotiating table with the idea of giving up land, Erdan suggested, if the Palestinians were to give something in return - namely, recognizing Israel as the Jewish homeland. 

Erdan concluded that Israel faces many threats - from the war against radical Islam to the prevention of nuclear arms reaching Iran. "This is a time of emergency," he said.