Netanyahu: We Will Maintain 'Stability and Security'
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Before departing for his five-day visit to the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's "stability and security" remain his highest priority.
"I will stand steadfast on the State of Israel's vital interests, especially the security of Israel's citizens," Netanyahu said. "This is what has been and what will be."
Upon landing in the United States, Netanyahu told reporters the Palestinians need to come on board with Israel and the U.S.
"The tango in the Middle East needs at least three," he said. "For years, there have been two -- Israel and the U.S. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present."
Netanyahu will meet with President Barack Obama on Monday and will speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference in Washington on Tuesday. Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will also speak at the conference.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Obama said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is committed to "nonviolence and diplomatic efforts."
He criticized Israel's alleged "aggressive settlement construction" in the past couple of years, an accusation propagated by successive U.S. and European governments, which is unsubstantiated by the facts on the ground.
Further, Obama's warning in the same interview that "international cooperation is needed" and "the absence of international good will makes you less safe," doesn't ring true to a country that's learned through experience how to survive in the sometimes hostile Middle East.
Meanwhile, Israeli political analyst Dr. Haim Shine believes Netanyahu will not be swayed by such rhetoric.
"When it comes to issues of the physical security of the Jews and the core of their spiritual existence, Netanyahu will not give in. This is how he was brought up; this is the legacy of his father," Shine wrote in Yisrael Hayom.
"Moreover, Netanyahu knows very well that he does not just represent the citizens of Israel who voted for him," he said.
"He is the loyal speaker for Jews who for thousands of years have dreamt of returning to Zion and to Jerusalem; Jews who remember Jerusalem at every joyous occasion and who leave a bit of their walls unplastered in memory of the sacked Jerusalem," he continued.
"The Israeli soldiers who recaptured Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War -- after we paid in blood -- Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have been returned to their original owners forever," he continued. But that changed when it "became clear that this was peace for suckers."
"You cannot fool Jews twice," Shine said. "Netanyahu will tell Obama politely and firmly, proudly and modestly, that he is not authorized to give up the security and future of Israel's citizens and certainly no part of the Jewish people's historic birthright."
Obama is expected to discuss Kerry's framework agreement with Netanyahu during their meeting and with Abbas when they meet later this month, despite P.A. chief negotiator Saeb Erekat saying they're uninterested in extending the talks after the nine-month timeframe expires on April 29.