Shaked at INSS conference
Shaked at INSS conferenceHen Galili

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked presented her plan for national strength at the International Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Tuesday evening.

Shaked took a swipe at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and spoke of the State Comptroller's report on Operation Protective Edge at the start of her remarks. "I heard those who spoke in the Knesset yesterday about 'shooting from the hip.' I am here to present to you today a coherent strategic plan which was developed in recent months - a program of 'National Strength.' The program which we are promoting at this time is meant to create long-term security for Israel. The State Comptroller's report is further evidence of the need for a fundamental change in the perception and conduct of Israel's security."

"The trends have changed, as I have described, but they carry, in essence, dangers as well as opportunities. I would like to focus today on the opportunities. There is an opportunity to evaluate new policies to maximize the benefit to the interests of the State of Israel." Shaked said.

Shaked praised the new US Administration and said that there is no doubt that the place for the new US Ambassador to Israel is in Jerusalem. "Changing the location of the embassy would be an expression and the best evidence of a change in the American approach, and in fact for American law. I appeal to the [rest of] the world: it is also time that you relocate you embassies to Jerusalem."

She also stated that Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had offered during a meeting of the Cabinet to exempt any embassy which is moved to Israel's capital of Jerusalem from paying income tax.

Shaked then detailed he five step national security plan.

1. "The first step is to repair and minimize the political damage created in the international arena in recent years. The erroneous decisions and hostility [of international organizations such as the UN] have to change."

"In our discussions with the Trump Administration we have to pass clear messages about the need for a re-examination of the dangerous nuclear agreement, for the renouncing of harmful statements such as outgoing Secretary of State [John Kerry's] speech, the statements from the Paris Conference, and the latest unfortunate decision of the Security Council.

"All of these decisions did not bring us one millimeter closer to peace and security. In fact, they gave incentives and political rewards serious and dangerous trend of global terrorism and Palestinian incitement.

2. "Alongside the cancellation of past damages an additional step is required. Build the future. We must demand and promote in the international arena and the recognition of Israel's borders in the north and the Golan Heights and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. To realize this the Israeli government must set a clear diplomatic objective: the transfer of as many embassies to Jerusalem [as is possible]. The transfer of the American Embassy can be a harbinger of change to strengthen the capital of Israel.

"These first two steps deal with the international arena. The three additional steps Israel in this robust national security program depend only on us and focus on strengthening Jerusalem and the 'settlements.Here again there was a folly called "Gaza and Jericho first.' We tried it this way and we paid in blood. We then unfortunately tried freezes, retreats, conferences, compromises and it cost us in blood and missiles. Now it's time a new way: 'Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion first.'

3. "We speak of "annexing Maale Adumim. Soon the law will come up for discussion and a vote in the ministerial legislative committee, but the word annexation is a misnomer. We are not annexing an additional piece of land - it is the heart of our country. The city of Maaleh Adumim is an inseparable part of Israel. It is not an annexation, but an official reunion and represents today's reality as it existed in the past, and as it will always be.

4. "The next step focuses on the Gush Etzion. Even those who argue against our forces in Judea and Samaria have no voice to speak [against] Gush Etzion. This settlement bloc was established long before anyone was talking about the '67 lines and was already established about 100 years ago, at about the same time that the settlement of Herzliya was established, and it waas destroyed by brutal mobs in the War of Independence.

"Now we need to apply Israeli law to create contiguity of transportation, and later territorial continuity, between Gush Etzion and Jerusalem. Our goal should be the doubling of the number of residents in Gush Etzion in the coming years. We already have building plans ready for implementation, including thousands of units.

"Sovereignty: Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion first, and the construction there will be a clear trend and declare a future connection to Jerusalem.

"Our capital city needs an urban security envelope, and that includes the development of Maaleh Adumim to the east, Gush Etzion and Efrat to the south, and the communities of Binyamin to the north. These areas formed the region of 'Greater Jerusalem' and will further enhance the status of Israel's capital internally and externally.

5. The fifth step in the program for national strength, is to strengthen settlement in other areas of Israel. It is time for an overall building boom. Construction should not be an answer or response to terrorism. We are building because we build. That is our right and it is our duty, that is Zionism. That shows that we are here to stay."

The minister finished her speech and said: "We need not necessarily be in conflict with the world to implement the five steps program for national strength. These days we have the ability to formulate new understandings with organizations and countries who understand the new trends. Alongside close cooperation with the Trump Administration we can promote our new ties with Russia, Africa, India, China, and the Gulf states. And first of all, we must tell the world what we want and what we are planning. We have to lead and not be led."