As Israeli Prime Minister was addressing the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations in North America, in New Orleans, on Tuesday, several activists disrupted his talk at least four times and challenged the occupation and the illegal Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories. The protesters also challenged Israel “loyalty oath” law before being forced out of the event hall.
During his speech, Netanyahu slammed the Palestinian leadership for what he called “walking out of peace talks”, and claimed that “the Palestinians are placing preconditions” by demanding Israel to halt its settlement activities before peace talks can be resumed.
The Israeli Prime Minister declared that Tel Aviv is willing to recognize a state for the Palestinian people, but expects the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
He claimed that Israel is willing to make genuine moves for the sake of peace, and that the Palestinian leadership must accept the resumption of peace talks “instead of walking away”.
He said that Israel will not withdraw from the Jordan Valley and the hills of the West Bank, and explained that such a withdrawal would allow “rockets and missiles to be streaming into the a Palestinian state, and placed on the hills above Tel Aviv and the hills encircling Jerusalem”.
“If Israel does not maintain presence in the Jordan valley in the foreseeable future, this is exactly what will could happen again, and I will not let that happen again”, he added.
Netanyahu also claimed he is willing to make “mutual compromise for genuine peace with the Palestinians”, but added that he “will not gamble with the security of the Jewish State”.
He said that Israel “will not accept to be dictated to”, and noted that all Israel’s allies, led by the United States, will not let that happen, and will not oblige Israel into any act that it does not agree upon.
Netanyahu further stated that Israel will not “repeat the same mistake of Gaza and southern Lebanon”, explaining that after Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip “it was attacked by streaming missiles”.
He also referred to Iran saying: “Tehran with nuclear power will be the greatest threat to Israel, and the whole world”.
Netanyahu further added that Tehran is financing what he called “terror groups” in Gaza, and is “confronting the United States in Iraq and in Afghanistan” in addition to what he called “Iran’s increasing influence in Saudi Arabia and south America.
He welcomed the U.S. decision to enforce further economic sanctions on Tehran, yet stated that “there are no signs that Iran is slowing down its nuclear program as a result of the sanctions”.
Netanyahu said that Iran must realize that the international community is willing to launch a military offensive against it unless Teheran stops its nuclear program.
Referring to boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel for its ongoing violations in the Occupied Territories, Netanyahu said that such campaigns are considered “attempts to delegitimize Israel”, and described them as the second threat to the Tel Aviv after Tehran and its allies.