PM Binyamin Netanyahu
PM Binyamin NetanyahuIsrael news photo: (file)

The Head of the Information Department in the Prime Minister’s Office, Nir Hefetz, said Sunday evening that Prime Minister  Binyamin Netanyahu will call for “a demilitarized Palestinian state side-by-side with a Jewish state” in his speech.

“This is a very brave speech,” Hefetz said. “You might think of it as an act of leadership. He will set two conditions for a Palestinian state: international security guarantees for Israel and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,” he said.

Hefetz spoke to reporters minutes before Netanyahu prepared to begin his speech at 8 p.m.

Netanyahu will thus utter the words “Palestinian state” – which he has been loath to say until now and which coalition partners from the Right hoped he would not say – but he will add the word “demilitarized.” By “demilitarized,” Voice of Israel Radio said, he means a state without a military force, without the ability to establish defense treaties with states that are enemies of Israel, without control of ports and border crossings and without control of electromagnetic frequencies.

Last minute pressure

As Netanyahu made last minute preparations for his major policy speech Sunday evening, there was political pressure inside Israel and one rocket attack from Gaza, all apparently connected to the speech.

National Union head MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) tried to instill some heroic spirit in the Prime Minister. “Based upon my good acquaintance with the Prime Minister who told me that he sees himself as the bearer of the legacy of [Zionist leader-philosopher Ze’ev] Jabotinsky, [former Prime Minister Menachem] Begin and [former Prime Minister Yitzchak] Shamir,” Katz said, “one would imagine that he will try to solidify his leadership and not repeat the mistake of being unfaithful to his voters, which toppled his previous government.” 

Katz suggested that Netanyahu bolster his leadership by making “a heroic appearance… in front of the entire world, like Shimon, Son of Mattityahu the Hasmonean who declared – ‘we have not taken a foreign land or ruled over foreigners’ property, but the land of our forefathers.’”

Katz said that he believed that construction in the cities of Judea and Samaria would be renewed immediately following Netanyahu’s speech, because otherwise thousands of young couples – mostly from the religious sector – would have nowhere to live.

Protests right and left

National Union youths led by MK Michael Ben-Ari held a protest vigil outside Bar Ilan University Sunday afternoon. “Netanyahu must remember before delivering the speech that he was elected by the citizens of Israel and was not appointed by the United States and President Obama,” he said.

Police special forces (Yasam) forcibly evicted extreme leftists who protested at the entrance to Bar Ilan.

Top poster says Obama hates Jews; bottom placard says 'we love Israel and strengthen Netanyahu.' (Israel news photo: Flash 90)

Kassam rocket

Terrorists in Gaza fired a short range (‘Kassam’) rocket at Israel in the afternoon hours. The rocket exploded in an open area south of Ashkelon, wounding no one and causing no damage.

Gila Hubara, a resident of Ashkelon, told Arutz 7 that she feels the security situation is once again crumbling and that the rocket “is apparently the terrorists’ answer to Binyamin Netanyahu’s expected speech.”