Netanyahu made the statements during a bible study group meeting in memory of his late father-in-law Shmuel Ben-Artzi at the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem. His words came amid the backdrop of recent unrest in Judea and Samaria and concerns that a Third Intifada could erupt.
Netanyahu’s statements also appeared to be an implicit response to President Shimon Peres. Earlier this week, Peres called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a partner for peace and also said that Israel should be willing to talk to Hamas if the group accepts the conditions of the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators.
“In this week’s Torah portion, it is written ‘Now there arose a new king over Egypt,’” Netanyahu said. “As it was then, it is now. In Egypt, the regime has changed. In Syria, the regime is weakening. This could also happen in the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria. Every intelligent person knows that Hamas could take over the Palestinian Authority. It could happen after agreement or it could happen before an agreement, like it did in Gaza.”
“Contrary to voices I’ve been hearing in recent days that have been urging me to rush forward, to make concessions and to withdraw, I think that in a diplomatic process one must act responsibly, not hastily,” Netanyahu said, without mentioning Peres by name. “Otherwise, a third Iranian terror base will arise in the heart of the country. Peace is only achieved once security is guaranteed.”