Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) addressed the 2015 Herzliya Conference on Monday, and debunked the claim – used by many Israeli leaders to explain flip-flopping policy – that "things look differently" from the chambers of power than they do on the street.
"Many warned me that when I become exposed to international pressure I'll see things differently," recalled the deputy minister. "To all those who hoped or worried, I must say: things that you see from here you also see from there, and even sharper."
Hotovely remarked that "it is important to listen to Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of the BDS campaign against Israel. When he is asked if the struggle will stop when the 'occupation' will end, he answers: the struggle isn't against settlements but rather for the right of return." The reference is to the immigration to Israel of roughly 5 million descendants of the Arab residents who left the state in the 1948 War of Independence.
"In this simple statement Barghouti sums up the root of the conflict," explained Hotovely. "From the Palestinian point of view the occupation of 1948 is the center of the problem. The willingness to accept the existence of Israel on any borders. We're just discussing the question of 1967 (when Israel liberated eastern Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, Gaza – ed.) with ourselves and with the world."
Making note of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) recent unilateral steps against Israel at the International Criminal Court and even at FIFA, she added, "turning to international tribunals with a goal of pressuring Israel has become a comfortable diplomatic weapon for the Palestinians."
"They demand that Israel pay the full price without them needing to recognize Israel or compromise their positions," said Hotovely.
Turning her attention to the source of the attempts to attack Israel, she argued, "the delegimitization process against Israel doesn't stem from political deadlock as people tend to say. It's exactly the opposite. It stems from a Palestinian strategy…the more generous the Israeli proposal is, the further the Palestinians ran from the negotiation table and got closer to the UN Security Council with a unilateral demand for international recognition."
Such unilateral moves are in fact a breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords which founded the PA, and as Hotovely indicated the PA last April torpedoed peace talks by unilaterally signing international conventions – along with sealing a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization.
Instead of compromising on Israel's positions, Hotovely presented a policy guideline comprising of several central points.
Outlining the policy paradigm, she called for "defining the Israeli viewpoint in terms of justice and ethics before putting on the table security considerations. Israel is not an occupier of its land. Judea and Samaria are not a roadblock to the solution of the conflict. Concessions and withdrawals advance radical Islamist forces and not peace."
She urged to press "the international community to create a deep Palestinian change. From a society with a negative ethos that lauds suicide terrorists and educates hatred and terror, to a society that is ready to live as a neighbor with Israel under recognition of it as a Jewish state."
Regarding this last point, Hotovely said, "this condition that the prime minister set in the Bar Ilan speech is an essential condition. Disbanding the Palestinian refugee camps as a basic condition to undermine the principle of return. Cooperation with Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in a regional solution within joint interests in the struggle against radical Islam."