In an hour-long address to the Herzliya Conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about the peace process and regional tensions that are creating a new reality in the Middle East – he also spoke about the largely hushed up building freeze in Judea and Samaria.
"I committed to two states at Bar Ilan," he said, referencing his controversial 2009 speech voicing support for the establishment of a Palestinian state. "The solution as I see it is a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state."
In the last round of peace talks, the Palestinian Authority (PA) adamantly refused to recognize Israel's existence as the Jewish state.
"The Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state. But they won't recognize a Jewish state for the Jewish people. That's what we want. Mutual recognition," noted Netanyahu.
According to the prime minister, the instability in the Middle East offers Israel with an opportunity to try and find regional partners.
"The trepidation of the Sunni states from Iran on the one hand, and ISIS (Islamic State) on the other, creates potential for cooperation," he said. "Perhaps it could help resolve the problem we want to resolve with the Palestinians. Because I don't want a one state solution."
The PA's "trick"
Netanyahu mentioned the freeze on Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria his administration has been covertly imposing since late 2013 with almost no reprieve, although the freeze was reportedly not made part of the peace talk conditions after Netanyahu decided to release jailed terrorists as a "gesture" instead.
"I froze the settlements and (last) October he (PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) agreed to meet. We met for three hours in Sharm El Sheikh and three hours in Jerusalem, and he had one demand – more freeze," revealed Netanyahu.
He added, "the Palestinians have a trick, they refuse each time to talk and then turn to ask for a boycott against Israel, submit demands to the (UN) Security Council, and say we are refusing to renew the negotiations."
Turning his attention to Iran, he warned that allowing the Islamic regime to continue developing its nuclear program risks causing a regional arms race.
The deal with Iran "won't make Israel safer," he said, adding that he's spoken to Arab leaders, and "no one believes that this deal with block Iran's path to the bomb, or many bombs."
Netanyahu further said Iran has been behind "cyberattacks on Saudi Arabia, and even the United States."
He also outlined an economic development program for Israel which aims to raise the growth rate to 5%, largely by developing new markets in China, India, Japan and other Asian economic superpowers.
"There is no security without a strong economy," he said. "And there is no prosperity without growth."