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The Speech Netanyahu Should Give

There is no getting around the fact that Israel is being increasingly isolated across the world. The recent ruling by the International Criminal Court and the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by Spain, Ireland, and Norway demonstrates that this is only getting worse.

 While the focus is on the impact on Palestinian civilians from Israel’s continuing assault against Hamas in Rafah, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s refusal to put forward anything resembling a realistic solution to end what appears to be an endless war is only fueling this situation.  That is why MK Benny Gantz, Defense Minister Gallant, and others have demanded that the Prime Minister put forward a definitive plan for “the day after.”  And yet we still hear silence from Netanyahu on this issue.

Most recently this problem was demonstrated, if not exacerbated, when Netanyahu threw cold water on the 3-phased peace plan proposed by President Biden, which was first offered by Israel, when he stated there would be no permanent cease fire until Hamas is destroyed. Once again Israel is seen as the problem when the Prime Minister again refuses to define what an end to the war and the day after, would look like.

Yet there is a way forward if Netanyahu is bold enough to take it. Rather than allowing this to continue, it is time for the Prime Minister and Israel to take back the moral and political high ground and seize the narrative by putting forward a definitive vision of the day after. Rather than continue acting defensively and in isolation, Netanyahu should look at it as an opportunity to completely upend the political/military gameboard that keeps Israel on the defensive.  Below is one approach the Prime Minister can take to seize the moment and truly make history.

Below is what I think he should say.

Shalom, my esteemed citizens, neighbors, and friends.

I stand before you not only as the Prime Minister of Israel but as a father, a son, and a husband. Our nation has faced tremendous challenges and threats throughout its history. The murderous attacks on our nation and civilization beginning on October 7th from Hamas and its allies are just the latest. Each time, we have stood strong, resilient, and united in the face of adversity. Each time, we have beaten back attempts to destroy our nation. And each time, the costs have been enormous. Never more so than the death and destruction we see today.

I say enough! The Middle East has been engulfed in conflict for far too long. This region, which is home to rich cultures, ancient histories, and diverse peoples, deserves a future free from violence, fear, and suffering. The ongoing hostilities have taken a severe toll on all of us, and the cycle of bloodshed and retribution must end.

Today, I am calling for an immediate ceasefire. This is not a decision taken lightly, nor is it a sign of weakness. It is a courageous step towards a future where our children can grow up in peace, where our economies can flourish, and where we can coexist with our neighbors in harmony.

However, I am not proposing a unilateral ceasefire. Any ceasefire must be conditioned on key principles and actions.

First and foremost, any ceasefire must be contingent upon the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas. These innocent lives must be returned to their families without delay. Additionally, Hamas must lay down its arms. There can be no true peace as long as weapons of war threaten the security of our people. Until that occurs, we will relentlessly continue our efforts to secure our nation and prevent further massacres of our people.

Second, we call upon our regional Arab partners, with support of the United States and other allies to join us in this crucial endeavor and form an initial and transitional governing authority to work with any Palestinian leaders who can demonstrate a commitment to peace and coexistence.  Members of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations will not be permitted to serve, and Gaza will be demilitarized.  Our collective immediate goal should be to provide civil and police support in Gaza, ensuring stability and safety for all its residents while we work towards a comprehensive and lasting solution. This will also involve finishing the job of destroying the tunnel system and other terrorist infrastructure in the area to prevent their use in the future.

Third, any Palestinian governing authority must unequivocally commit to the recognition of Israel and our right to exist. This is non-negotiable. We are open to a pathway for the Palestinian Authority to assume governance of Gaza, but only if it agrees to recognize Israel, and can demonstrate an end to the corruption that plagues it today and establish institutional transparency. The criteria for establishing this must be carried out in coordination with Israel.

Fourth, we call upon the U.S. and our Arab regional partners to work with us not only to rebuild war-torn Gaza but also to develop a sustainable path to local and regional prosperity.  One step towards doing this would be the creation of an interregional development fund with support from the U.S. and other nations.

Fifth, there can be no true peace unless we work together to prevent Iran from continuing their efforts to destroy Israel and disrupt all peaceful efforts in the region. Towards that end, we call for the establishment of a regional security alliance, modeled on NATO, in which we work with our Arab partners and the U.S. to guarantee security in the region. This necessarily includes a peace treaty between Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as signed mutual defense commitments between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and Israel.

Finally, should all this occur, we agree to enter into discussions with our new partners towards establishing a pathway towards a two-state solution, with exploratory talks to occur immediately.

To the citizens of Israel, most of whom are opposed to  a two-state solution at this time, I say the following.  True leadership demands that rather than focus on the past, even the immediate past, we put our energies into creating a new future. We have suffered a grievous and almost inconceivable harm inflicted on us from Hamas and their allies. But so have the Palestinian people.

They live under a dictatorial, terrorist regime who have used them for their own genocidal ends of destroying our nation and our people.  They have been denied all human rights since Hamas seized control and have been consistently used as cannon fodder by their own leadership. Prior to Hamas’s attack on us on October 7th there were increasing signs of discontent within Gaza.  Among other things the timing of Hamas’s attack against us was also directed against its own people who they now use as human shields in the current war.

I know you question whether the Palestinian people can ever live peacefully, side by side with us. I do as well.  But if we are ever to end what has become a never-ending cycle of death and destruction, we have to take bold steps. The Palestinian people do not have the means to do that. So, it is up to us to take the necessary steps to achieve peace, as we always have.  But we must always first and foremost ensure the security of our own people. The plan I am putting forward will provide that. At that point it is up to the Palestinian people to carve out their own future path to peace and prosperity.

We understand that a ceasefire is but the first step. True peace requires dialogue, compromise, and mutual respect. Therefore, I urge all parties involved—our Palestinian neighbors, regional partners, and international allies—to come together at the negotiation table. Let us address our differences through constructive dialogue, guided by the principles of justice, security, and mutual recognition.

Our security concerns are legitimate, and they must be acknowledged and addressed. The safety of our citizens will always be our top priority. We will continue to defend our nation against any threats. However, we must also recognize the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their right to live with dignity and in peace.

To the Palestinian people I say: Let us break the chains of hatred and distrust. Let us forge a new path forward, grounded in cooperation and shared interests. Together, we can create a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

To the international community, your support and involvement are crucial. We call on you to assist us in this endeavor, to provide the necessary frameworks and assurances that can facilitate a sustainable and just peace.

In this sacred land, where the echoes of our ancestors resonate in every hill and valley, let us honor their legacy by striving for peace. Let us transform this land from a battleground into a beacon of hope and reconciliation.

May we be guided by wisdom and courage in these critical times. May the spirit of peace prevail over the shadows of conflict. And may we, the people of Israel, lead the way towards a brighter, more peaceful future for the Middle East.

Thank you. God bless Israel. God bless peace. Shalom.

____________________

About the Author
Robert Greenberg is the founder and owner of G&H International Services, Inc a Washington D.C. based small business providing strategic and technology services to Federal, State and Local governments on homeland security issues. G&H is a leader in providing technology tools to enhance the readiness of the homeland security community and has won awards from Federal and State governments and the private sector for it innovative use of technology to improve information sharing and decision support. Mr. Greenberg serves as an advisor to leaders at all levels of government to develop programmatic and technology solutions to help build a resilient United States.
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