The current security and political climate in the region renders the prospect of a peace agreement with the Palestinians a near impossibility, President Reuven Rivlin said Monday, adding that while Israel did not wish to live by the sword, the state must nevertheless always be prepared to protects its citizens and borders.
“The assumption that under these circumstances Israel can achieve peace with the Palestinians through negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, while Hamas undermines him relentlessly, seems impossible,” Rivlin said at a conference in Jerusalem organized by the pro-settler newspaper BeSheva.
“We will not forever live by the sword, but we will forever have to live with the sword, and we must be ready and willing to protect the Zionist enterprise and the land of Israel,” he said.
The president went on to say that Israel must not only work to quell violence, but also strive to deal with the feelings of hatred and the incitement at the core of the conflict.
“At the root of terrorism is the horrible enmity our enemies have for us,” he said. “A hostility that is the result of the terrible incitement that also exists within the Palestinian Authority. A hostility that recruits hatred, children aged 13 and 15. A hostility that targets the Jewish people, but makes no distinction between an Israeli who is Jewish and one who is not Jewish, between a citizen and a soldier, between a girl and an elderly man or pregnant woman.”
Some 30 Israelis have been killed in a wave of near-daily stabbing, shooting, and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians since October. More than 160 Palestinians have also been killed, most of them in the act of attacking Israelis and others in clashes and demonstrations.
Overnight Sunday, IDF and Border Police forces arrested 18 Palestinians in the West Bank, among them three suspected members of Hamas and eight activists who allegedly took part in violent protests.