By BETHANY L. BARMAN, Reuters Israel will need to take the lead on combating homegrown terrorism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, and “will be the first to confront any threat” of a terrorist attack if it is identified.
The prime minister, whose government has been in power for almost a decade and whose popularity has been at historic lows since the election of a far-right nationalist, also reiterated that Israel would seek “to be an exceptional country” in the international community, and added that it would do everything to ensure that no Palestinian state is created.
Netanyahu, whose party lost its majority in parliament in a landslide election last month, said his government was ready to act, adding that he was confident that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Islamist group which governs Gaza, would work together to prevent any terror attack on Israel.
“We will be the last country in the world to give up its right to exist as a Jewish state,” he said.
“We will not allow a Palestinian state to be created in the future.
We will be willing to put the pressure on them to stop it.”
He added that he hoped to achieve the goal of achieving a two-state solution by March.
Netayim, the Israeli parliament, passed a law last month to create an independent Palestinian state, a move that was opposed by Palestinians and the United States.
Netanyahu has long said the goal is to secure the future of the Jewish people, but he has faced intense pressure to accept the Palestinians’ demand for the creation of an independent state for their people.
Israelis were in the street in large numbers to oppose the law, with many expressing opposition to what they said was an unfair deal for Palestinians in the form of the creation, as well as the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Some Israeli citizens staged a rare protest, taking to the streets to voice their opposition to the bill.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks to members of the public during a meeting in Jerusalem, Israel, March 12, 2019.
REUTERS/Ronen ZvulunZionists, however, were quick to congratulate the new government for its handling of the bill and its stance against a Palestinian future, which they said would create the conditions for an Arab state.
The head of the main Israeli opposition, MK Avi Dichter, said Netanyahu had done the right thing by rejecting the bill, and he was sure that the Palestinians would not be satisfied with the deal.
The bill was approved by the Knesset by a vote of 217-168, with all members present voting in favour of it.