In remarks at the opening of the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today, "The response to the attack on Zionism and the State of Israel must reinforce and underscore the implementation of the settlement plan in all areas in which the government decides regarding settlement.
"These are not my words. These are the words of the government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and this is the language of the cabinet's 1975 decision in the wake of the UN decision that equated Zionism with racism. Today we are building and we will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that are on the map of the strategic interests of the State of Israel.
"The Palestinian Authority's one-sided step at the UN constitutes a gross violation of the agreements that have been signed with the State of Israel; accordingly, the government of Israel rejects the UN General Assembly decision."
Netanyahu was referring to the resolution passed by an overwhelming majority, including several European countries, in the United Nations General Assembly last week to admit the Palestinian Authority as a non-member observer state. In response, the Israeli announced the construction of 3,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Netanyahu also commented on the ranking of Israel by "The Economist" as the 20th best country in which to be born. The prime minister said that his government would strive to turn Israel into one of the most developed countries in the world.
"Israel was ranked by a magazine that is not known for crowning us with laurels," the prime minister said. "Israel was ranked number 20 among the countries in which it is best to be born. In the happiness ranking, Israel was ranked 14, and in sixth place for health. In the face of the security disturbances in the region and the global economic crisis, we will continue to act to develop the State of Israel in the face of all the challenges, to turn it into a good place, a developed place, one of the most developed countries in the world economically, and from the point of view of infrastructures, quality of life, and welfare."
In a further measure in response to the Palestinian move in the UN, Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz has announced that Israel will cease to transfer to the Palestinian Authority tax revenue that it collects on the Authority's behalf, and that the money will be used to offset the Authority's debt to Israel Electric Corporation and other Israeli bodies. Israel transfers an average of about NIS 460 million to the Palestinian Authority under the Paris Protocol of 1994 that regulates economic relations between them. "Globes" has learned that the Palestinian Authority's cumulative debt to Israel Electric Corporation is about NIS 700 million.
The cabinet heard a special briefing today on incitement against Israel in the Palestinian Authroity, presented by Strategic Affairs Ministry Director-General Yossi Kuperwasser.
According to the briefing, in the period under review there was a negative record in expressions of hatred and incitement against Israel as seen in remarks by senior Palestinian Authority officials, on official websites, in the media and in the Palestinian Authority education system. Examples were shown inter alia of the use of Hitler's ideas, the adoration of suicide terrorists, anti-Semitic caricatures, the complete ignoring of Israel on official maps, calls for a return to Jaffa and Haifa, etc.
It was also noted in the briefing that the Palestinian education system has no plan whatsoever for encouraging coexistence and an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation, and that the two recent UN speeches by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) included expressions of severe incitement and have greatly contributed to the education towards hatred..
Netanyahu said in response to the briefing, "This is additional proof that this is not a dispute over land but a denial of the existence of the State of Israel. Their unwillingness to accept a Jewish state in any borders whatsoever is the root of the conflict. When there is a map that shows Palestine over the entire area of Israel, there is a conflict here over the very existence of the State of Israel in all its territory. The Palestinian Authority is unwilling to move towards accepting the existence of the State of Israel. It is poisoning the Palestinian public.
"The Palestinians want to use the diplomatic process in order to bring about the end of the State of Israel. Going to the UN is part of this. The Palestinian Authority is waging a struggle over the very existence of the State of Israel. While we are prepared to recognize them, they deny our existence. We would have long since reached a solution if they had wanted it. As long as the Palestinian Authority educates the younger generation to hate, how is it at all possible to talk about peace?
Netanyahu directed that the matter should be brought to the attention of the countries who voted in favor of the Palestinian move, which contravenes all the agreements.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said, "As long as the Palestinian Authority educates its people toward hatred, and non-recognition, of Israel, there will not be peace. They are sending deep messages and this education is being absorbed by all sections of the populace, especially the younger generation."
In a separate development, former minister MK Meir Sheetrit has announced that he is leaving the Kadima party to join Hatenua, the new party set up by former Kadima leader and minister of foreign affairs Tzipi Livni.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 2, 2012
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