Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described his doctrine of “peace for peace” and “peace from strength” as bringing about formal relations with the United Arab Emirates in remarks made on Sunday.
“Under this doctrine, Israel does not have to withdraw from any territory and the two states get the fruits of full, open peace,” Netanyahu said. “This peace was not achieved because Israel weakened itself by withdrawing to ’67 lines. It was achieved because Israel strengthened itself by cultivating a free-market economy, by cultivating military and technological strength, and by combining the two to attain unprecedented international influence.”
Netanyahu directly tied Israel’s strength to its willingness to stand up to Iranian aggression, even when he “stood alone against the whole world” and the Iran nuclear deal, to encouraging Arab leaders to get closer to Israel.
“In the Middle East, the strong survive, and peace is made with the strong,” he said.
Netanyahu said his doctrine is the opposite of those who believed that no Arab state would make peace with Israel before the conflict with the Palestinians ended, including evacuating settlements, dividing Jerusalem and withdrawing to pre-1967 lines. The Palestinians “held Israel and the Arab world hostage to the most extreme demands,” he said, “which put Israel in existential danger… and more than a few Israelis agreed with these absurd conditions.”
But now, that idea is finished and replaced with “peace for peace, peace from strength,” the prime minister argued. He quoted his own 2013 speech to the UN General Assembly to show that he had long thought this would be possible.
Netanyahu repeated that extending Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria is still on his agenda, and he plans to negotiate based on US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which would have Israel retain 30% of the West Bank.