Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon made points Monday of mentioning the defunct “peace process” with the Palestinian Authority – a subject they studiously ignored during the recent election campaign.
Israel suspended its negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in late April of 2014, after Hamas and Fatah reached a unity accord.
Yaalon said that the new government would “stretch out its hand” to the Palestinians in order to conduct negotiations with them, as did the two previous governments – both under Netanyahu.
However, Yaalon noted, “we have bitter experience with our Palestinian neighbors,” and any agreement that does not include recognition of Israel as a Jewish state will only be part of the Palestinian “stage plan” for conquering Israel.
Yaalon spoke at a joint news conference with Germany's Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen. He noted that Germany transferred Patriot missile batteries to Israel as part of the security assistance it provides to the Jewish state.
The Defense Ministry will purchase four German navy patrol boats at a cost of 430 million euros (1.85 billion shekels; $480 million), it announced Monday, with the aim of increasing naval protection and for securing its new gas fields.
It is not unreasonable to assume that the presence of the German minister was a factor motivating Yaalon's allusion to the "diplomatic process," which European governments hold dear to their hearts.
The German government will contribute 115 million euros ($128 million) toward the cost of the transaction; the German shipyard has also committed to a reciprocal deal with Israel valuing more than 700 million shekel.
Netanyahu also mentioned negotiations with the Palestinians as he enumerated the new government's goals Monday, describing them as “to advance the diplomatic process, to continue to guarantee the market's growth, and – an important mission that we committed to – is to bring down the prices of housing and the price of living.”