"...the era of weakness of the Livni-Olmert government is over". "What the citizens of Israel have been witnessing in the last few months is an ongoing weakness, a willingness to give up everything in exchange for nothing..."
"The government releases 1000 terrorists without any return. It makes concessions in Jerusalem, it is willing to return to the 1967 lines - and the most incredible thing, it is willing to absorb thousands of Palestinian refugees into Israel. I plan to make it clear to President Sarkozy and to all our friends and foes across the globe: this policy is going to end."
"A Likud government led by me will restore security to the people of Israel, will restore pride and determination to our policies. We will stand decisively for a united Jerusalem and defensible borders in every diplomatic arena. We will not agree to have a single refugee from 1948 enter the sovereign state of Israel, not to Ashkelon, not to Jaffa, not to Acre, or any other place".
My reaction is fourfold. Two praises and two admonitions to Mr. Netanyahu.
First, good analysis by Bibi regarding the Olmert-Livni government.
Two, it is nice to hear he wishes to return Israel to a policy of strength against terror.
Three, the down side of Bibi's Theory of Reciprocity, is that once the other side does actually comply, the pendulum of concessions swings back towards you. Yes to Jerusalem, but what about Hebron and the other Holy places of the West Bank?
Four, he should not call Palestinian refugees in foreign lands by the title refugees as it could seem to some that he is referring to West Bank and Gaza Palestinian Arabs who are still technically refugees under International Law. It is OK to refer to West Bank and Gazan Palestinians as refugees, because it removes the false stigma of "Occupied Territories". Israel is not the occupying force, the Palestinians are residing on unofficially annexed Israeli land.
Well, Bibi can remove both of my criticisms at the same time by merely Annexing the West Bank and Gaza with a simultaneous enactment into Israeli law of the Everyone Wins Peace Plan as their mode of resolving the refugee problem. Now that there exists a safe way to take in refugees, they morally should, because now it is merciful, not weak, to do so, but only if in accordance to a non-suicidal naturalization plan such as found in the Everyone Wins plan. Such mercy towards Palestinian Arabs would also be just, so that no one should ever compare Olmert's sin of allowing terrorists to fire at civilians indiscriminately with the lofty goal of aiding refugees.
One more issue Mr. Netanyahu raised in his statement.
"The era of weakness is about to end, and it will me my friends and I in the Likud who put an end to it and restore security to the people of Israel", Netanyahu concluded.
Bibi has to realize that humility is good, even in politics. Mentioning God's help at this point would not hurt him with Israel's religious and traditional voters, and serve to indicate that he is not at risk to fall into Ariel Sharon's trap of arrogance. Sharon "made" the settlements and felt that entitled him to take them apart as well. But the truth is that everyone in life is just God's messenger on the path that they freely choose to follow. The path we choose. But the force of causation is to God alone.
A man of Truth and Strength requires Humility and Compassion as well, in order to be an ideal leader.