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Thursday, December 6, 2007
Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu's Knesset Speech - Commemorating November 29

Our existence does not depend on the willingness of the Palestinians to make
peace with us. Our existence is secured by our right to live in this land
and our capacity to defend that right.

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu's Knesset Speech - Commemorating
November 29

The UN resolution of November 29, 1947 recognizing a Jewish state was an
important moment in the history of our nation, and an important moment in
the history of all nations.

Since then, we have made peace with Egypt and Jordan, but the obstacle to
widening the circle of peace remains what it has always been: the refusal of
Israel's enemies to recognize the Jewish State in any borders.

Our enemies do not want an Arab state next to Israel. They want an Arab
state instead of Israel.

Time and again they were offered an Arab state next to Israel: first, in
the partition plan of 1947; then, indirectly, in the Oslo accords; later,
unequivocally, at Camp David in 2000; and finally, in the countless
declarations since then by both Israeli and international leaders which have
called for two states for two peoples.

And how did our enemies respond to these offers? Time and again they
violently rejected them. In 1947, they launched terror attacks and then an
all out war to annihilate the Jewish state. During the Oslo peace process,
they terrorized Israel with suicide bombers; after Camp David, they
orchestrated the Second Intifadah in which over 1,000 Israelis were
murdered; since then they have fired thousands of Katushya rockets on the
Galilee and thousands of Kassam rockets on the Western Negev in order, they
say, "to liberate occupied Palestine" - in other words, "occupied" Haifa,
"occupied" Acre, "occupied" Sderot and "occupied" Ashkelon.

In doing so, Hezbollah and Hamas are merely following the words of Jamal
Husseini, a cousin of the Mufti and a member of the Arab High Committee, who
said four days before the UN partition vote: "Palestine will be filled
with blood and fire if the Jews receive even a part of

Regrettably, even the more moderate Palestinians refuse to support making
peace with Israel as a Jewish state. They support two states for one
people: A Palestinian state cleansed of Jews, and a bi-national state that
they hope to flood with Palestinians according to what they call the "right
of return."

Until they truly recognize and internalize the right of the Jewish people to
a state of their own and until their leaders show the courage of President
Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, it is doubtful that we will
have a real partner for a genuine peace.

In this context, we can understand what happened - and what didn't happen -
with the adoption of the UN partition resolution in 1947.

The resolution did not fix for all time the contours of a final settlement
between us and our neighbors. After all, the Arabs rejected the
establishment of a Jewish state and sought to destroy it. The day after
the vote the Mufti himself said, "what the UN wrote in black ink, we will
write in red blood."

Arab leaders cannot come today, 60 years later, and demand to turn back the
clock as if nothing happened. They cannot demand that we accept an agreement
that they themselves tore to shreds because, having failed to destroy
Israel, they have now concluded that its provisions would spell Israel's

Ben Gurion understood this well when he said in one of the first meetings of
the government of Israel: "The decisions of November 29 are dead. The
borders of partition are dead. Jerusalem as an 'international city' is a
mere fantasy." He repeated these ideas in his speech to the Knesset on
December 12th, 1949 when he said that the UN decision was null and void.

Thus, neither the borders of partition nor the internationalization of
Jerusalem are the enduring features of the UN vote.

What is enduring is the international recognition of the right of the Jewish
people to their own state, a right anchored in the Balfour Declaration which
recognized the right of the Jews to a national home in the Land of Israel
and which was reaffirmed by both the San Remo conference in 1920 and by the
League of Nations in 1922.

But the UN partition vote is seared in our memory because immediately
following the vote Britain began to leave the country, opening the way to
the fateful battle that almost snuffed out our existence.

The UN partition vote did not establish the state of Israel. It merely
recognized the historic right of the Jewish people to return to their
homeland and restore their sovereign existence.

But had it not been for the millennial longing of the Jewish people for the
land of Israel, the continuous presence of Jews here across the centuries
and the seventy years of intensive Jewish settlement in the land that
preceded the UN vote, this historic right would never have been realized.

And even these would not have sufficed had not the sons of a tiny nation, in
the wake of the horrific Holocaust, raised the sword of the Macabees and
with incomparable heroism repelled an Arab onslaught that was about to
overwhelm the fledgling state.

The enduring belief in our historic national rights, the settlement effort
that realized those rights and the military struggle that defended them-
these are what established the Jewish state.

The UN vote merely gave international recognition to this. Yet the UN vote
was an important and historic decision, and it is right that we commemorate
that vote today with the distinguished ambassadors of the nations that
supported it.

But consider this: What would have happened to the UN decision if we would
have been defeated in the War of Independence?

The key to Israel's existence has always been rooted in strengthening
Zionism and our ability to defend ourselves - and this remains the key to
our existence and the key to forging a genuine peace with all our Arab
neighbors. Only when some of them recognized Israel's permanence and
indestructibility did they reconcile themselves to making peace with us.

That is why I was shocked to hear in the press that the prime minister said:
"If there will not be two states, Israel is finished."

Mr. Prime Minister: The State of Israel will never be finished! Our
fate will be determined by us, and us alone!

Our existence does not depend on the willingness of the Palestinians to make
peace with us. Our existence is secured by our right to live in this land
and our capacity to defend that right.

We built up our country for 31 years before the peace agreement with Egypt,
we continued to build it for another 16 years before the peace agreement
with Jordan, and I hope we will not wait long before we can achieve a peace
agreement with the Palestinians and with others in the Arab world.

But we do not condition our existence on their agreement. That was the
policy of all Israeli governments until now, and it must be the policy of
all Israeli governments in the future. Let me repeat: Our fate will be
determined by us and us alone!

In the Middle East, peace and security go hand-in-hand. In fact security,
which stems from Israel's strength, precedes peace and peace agreements.
Whoever does not understand this will be left without security and without

Only a strong Israel, confident in the justice of its cause and led by a
strong leadership, will be able to achieve the lasting peace with our
neighbors for which we all yearn.

Ari Harow
Senior Advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu

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