Sunday, June 14

In speech on Sunday, Netanyahu rejects Palestinian right of return, right of self-defense

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

The recently-inaugurated Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a speech Sunday in which he called on the Palestinian Authority to give up their demand that 4 million Palestinian refugees be allowed their internationally-recognized right to return to their homes. He also said that any future Palestinian state must be defenseless, and that Israeli settlements (constructed on Palestinian land in contravention of international law) must be allowed to expand their territory for so-called “natural growth”.

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu (photo from thinkprogress)
Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu (photo from thinkprogress)

In his speech, which was meant to outline his policy positions on certain key issues, Netanyahu flatly rejected two of the three core demands of the Palestinian people by saying that he refuses to allow the internationally-recognized right of return of refugees, and that 'Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel' – implying that the Israeli takeover of the city in the four decades since 1967 will remain, and the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians still living in the city will be displaced.

The core Palestinian demands are: the right of return of the 4 million Palestinian refugees displaced by the creation of the state of Israel and the ongoing encroachment of that state on Palestinian land; the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, which Netanyahu flatly denied with his declaration that Jerusalem is the 'undivided capital of Israel'; and the release of the over 11,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prison camps, an issue which Netanyahu did not address in his Sunday speech.

While Netanyahu began his speech by stating that Israeli is “committed to international agreements”, he quickly contradicted that statement when he said that Jerusalem must be the “undivided capital of Israel”, a statement which violates signed agreements and United Nations Security Council Resolutions. A number of UN Security Council Resolutions, including the Resolution recommending the creation of the state of Israel on Palestinian land in 1947, also call for the Palestinians to be guaranteed their internationally-recognized right to return to their homes, a right that Netanyahu flatly rejected.

On the question of a Palestinian 'state', Netanyahu stated, "Israel cannot agree to a Palestinian state unless it gets guarantees it is demilitarized", a statement which violates all international law that allows states to bear arms for self defense.

US and Israeli media have already begun reporting that Netanyahu 'agrees to the idea of a Palestinian state', a headline which is false and misleading if one listens to the rest of Netanyahu's speech, instead of just the first sentence.


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