Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin NetanyahuIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday afternoon that terrorists could fire anti-aircraft missiles at airliners arriving in Israel, if their flight path came close to Gaza.

Netanyahu told Likud party members at a special meeting that he was reluctant to agree to any final status deal with the Palestinian Authority that did not include firm security arrangements.

“Today we are experiencing difficulty flying close to Gaza, since [the terrorists] possess anti-aircraft missiles,” the prime minister explained during the meeting.

“Imagine if there were no security arrangements, and there would be missiles that could bring down an aircraft while it is en route to Ben Gurion International Airport. We need to find a long-term solution,” he said.

Netanyahu also remarked on an interview with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, broadcast Sunday on Israel's Channel One television, and the irony of such a conversation being held in such close proximity, through the media, while it is so difficult to arrange a similar conversation between the two leaders directly.

“I would rather talk to him face to face,” the prime minister commented. “The interview took place seven minutes from here. In order to reach an agreement, we must overcome artificial barriers.”

One such barrier, he added, is the conflict over Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria, and the parts of Jerusalem the PA insists on claiming for the new country it hopes to create.

“The debate on construction is simply an artificial obstacle,” Netanyahu said. “Even the Palestinians say the construction is not significant, and barely has any effect on a final status map.

“I say it has no impact at all. If the Palestinians want to continue the conflict, they can find a way. But if they want to solve it, I have solutions.”

First and foremost, however, said Netanyahu, the PA must be willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “Not just a statement that they are willing to recognize this at the end of the conflict, but recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people,” he said.

What matters is the PA's willingness to resolve the conflict, he added. “If they are willing, the conflict will be resolved... I hope the Palestinians make the right choice … because this will be good for us, and good for them.”