Additional Remarks by PM Netanyahu at the Joint Statement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, GPO     

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks today in Berlin, at the joint statement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:
"The French initiative, as it has been published, is questionable. It says: We will hold an international conference but if you do not succeed we are already predetermining the result – we will recognize a Palestinian state. It does not matter if this state could become another Islamic dictatorship, one of many in the Middle East. It does not matter if it will not genuinely commit to ending the conflict and recognizing the state of the Jews. It does not matter if there will not be security arrangements that will prevent the capturing of territory that Israel would be due to evacuate by Daesh or Hamas or both of them. It does not matter. We will determine that there is a state, without any conditions regarding recognition, security or anything. Of course this ensures that this conference will fail because if the Palestinians know that their demand will be met a priori, and they do not need to do anything, then there is certainly an internal contradiction here, because they will not do anything. There is one way to advance peace – direct negotiations without preconditions between the sides. This is the true way and I think that anyone who tries to deviate from it will not advance successful negotiations.
Regarding the EU, first of all I welcome the advancing of relations between us and the EU and its representative, Federica Mogherini. The truth is that I also received this advice from Chancellor Merkel and Minister Steinmeier, without conceding our basic interests, we stand on our positions. But I heard from Federica Mogherini several very clear things: First, they will not surprise us with further initiatives. Second, they are against BDS and boycotts. What they have determined does not relate to the setting of the permanent borders of the State of Israel in a future agreement. And, as has been noted, we stood on [our] interests. I must tell you that in regard to the plan, it was published that she spoke with me and with Abu Mazen about it – she did not discuss it with me. Therefore, I do not want to relate to hypotheticals. These are important matters. I think that they are important for the State of Israel and for a fair process. The State of Israel must be treated fairly. We are not the root of the problem in the Middle East; we are part of the solution. If Israel would not be there, the Middle East would be inundated. The entire western part of the Middle East would be flooded by the forces of radical Islam and many more millions would ride this flood to Europe. Israel is a defensive shield of Western civilization in the heart of the Middle East.
The NGO bill is one of transparency. It’s not one of censorship; it’s one of transparency. It says that if a government, a foreign government is assisting this or that NGO, it should be open and people should know about it. There are such laws in other countries, especially in the United States. No law is exactly analogous to the other, but that’s the principle. And so what we want is mere transparency.
As far as…I’ve just been passed a note because I didn’t know about this question with the journalist? I understand he was released, he was temporarily apprehended and released immediately. I was, I don’t even know the details of this. But we are, believe me we do not arrest journalists. As I can personally attest to you, the press in Israel is robust, free, very energetic and free to say anything that it wants. And you know what? It does. That’s not the case in our neighborhood, but it is the case in Israel and will continue to be the case in Israel."