“Only when our neighbors are convinced that our strength and our presence here are irrefutable facts, only then some of them will be persuaded to make peace with us,” the Israeli leader declared.
Peace can only be achieved “through strength,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted.
Speaking at a state memorial ceremony in Jerusalem on Tuesday for the late former Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Netanyahu — the Likud leader who is seeking a fifth term as prime minister in April’s Knesset elections — stated:
“Only when our neighbors are convinced that our strength and our presence here are irrefutable facts, only then some of them will be persuaded to make peace with us, and we are fully advancing this recognition and agreement process with our remaining neighbors, not with all of them, but with most of them.”
“We are doing this with extensive segments of the Arab and Islamic world in an expedited normalization process, only part of which the public can see,” he added. “We are also holding this process in secret, and Israel is currently in contact with half a dozen important Arab and Islamic countries, which up until recently were hostile to Israel.”
Netanyahu faces a stiff challenge in the upcoming vote from the centrist Blue and White joint list, led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. However, on a number of key security issues, including the threat posed by Iran, there is broad consensus among all of Israel’s mainstream parties.
“We are continuing to take vigorous action against Iran’s attempts to entrench militarily in Syria,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “We are also doing so in the face of the aggression of Hezbollah and Hamas, whose tunnels we are systematically dismantling.”
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