Statements by Israeli leaders

 Israeli support for a negotiated Palestinian state


“Two years ago, I stood before my own people and I said something that wasn’t easy for me to say.  I’m deeply attached to the Land of Israel.  I’m deeply attached to our ancestral homeland, but I said:  “There’s another people here.  We’ll have to have a division”.  I said, facing the Israeli people:  “I will accept a Palestinian state”.  Now, I say that President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority must do what I did two years ago.  He must face his people, the Palestinian people and say:  “I will accept the Jewish state”.  I think this is critical. I think this is critical for the achievement of peace, and I want to tell you why.  Because it’s not what you call Israel; it’s what Israel is.  They say:  “Well, you can call it Israel.  You can call it David’s Empire.  You can call it anything.”  That’s not what I’m talking about.  As far as I’m concerned, they can call their state Palestine or they can call it Arafat Land.  They can call it whatever they want.  But I wasn’t talking about what they call it.  I’m talking about what it is.  It is, for them, the nation-state of the Palestinian people.  Israel is for us – the nation-state of the Jewish people.  It’s the one and only state of the Jewish people.  But this means that the Palestinians, if they choose, go there, and Jews, if they choose – I hope many of you choose that – go here.  That’s what it means, can come here.  That’s one thing it means.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speech at the President’s Conference,  Jerusalem, 23 June 2011

“The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital.  But they’re not enough.  We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians.  Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace.  As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speech to a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress, Washington DC, 24 May 2011

“So now here is the question: if the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us?  All six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of the Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state, myself included.  So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it. You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state.  This is what this conflict is about…. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War. They were simply unwilling to end the conflict.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speech to a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress, Washington DC, 24 May 2011

President Abbas must do what I have done.  I stood before my people, and I said: "I will accept a Palestinian state."  It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say: "I will accept a Jewish state. Those six words will change history. Israel will be generous on the size of the Palestinians state but we’ll be very firm on where we put the border with it.  This is an important principle.  It shouldn’t be lost. We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speech to a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress, Washington DC, 24 May 2011

Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda. So I say to President Abbas:  Tear up your pact with Hamas!  Sit down and negotiate!  Make peace with the Jewish state! If you do, I promise you this: Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations.  It will be the first.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speech to a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress, Washington DC, 24 May 2011

“I want to make peace with a Palestinian state that would end the conflict, I am not willing to accept a Palestinian state that continues it.  I am prepared to accept a Palestinian state beside the State of Israel, but I will not accept a Palestinian state instead of the State of Israel.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Address at the Knesset Herzl Day, Jerusalem, 16 May 2011

“I believe that under the right conditions, the establishment of a Palestinian state could bring about peace, but if it is done in an irresponsible manner, the establishment of a Palestinian state could also be the cause for a worsening of the conflict and an increase in terror. In order for the compromise to lead to peace and not war, it must be accompanied by two fundamental components: recognition and security arrangements.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speech at the Opening of the Knesset Winter Session, Jerusalem, 11 October 2010

“The substance of peace is a solution of two states for two peoples, in which a de-militarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish State of Israel.  This vision is anchored in two core principles – security and legitimacy…. I think the solution of legitimacy means that we recognize the Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, and they recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
PM Netanyahu, Address to the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington DC, 8 July 2010

“But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: Within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose our flag and our culture on them. In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours two peoples will live freely, side-by-side, as good neighbors with mutual respect.  Each will have its own flag, its own anthem, its own government.  Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other…. If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitarization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.”
PM Netanyahu, Speech at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 14 June 2009