Netanyahu Says Israelis Won’t Be ‘Suckers’ for Peace Process

Bloomberg (Link) - Calev Ben-David (September 10, 2009)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while he is ready to make sacrifices for the sake of peace with the Palestinians and Arabs, his government will �stand up� for the interests of the country.

�We have proven again and again we are ready to compromise for peace,� Netanyahu said tonight in a speech in the Tel Aviv headquarters of his Likud party broadcast on Israeli television�s Channel 1 news. �But we will not delude ourselves -- we are not ready to be suckers.�

Netanyahu said his government is committed to pursuing diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab states. At the same time, it will work to ensure that Jewish settlers in the West Bank will still be able to lead �normal lives.�

The Palestinians have said they will not negotiate unless Israel freezes all construction in the West Bank, and the Obama administration has asked Israel to do so to advance the peace process. Israeli officials said last week the Netanyahu government would be willing to declare a temporary freeze to help restart the talks.

Netanyahu also said his government wouldn�t agree to any division of Jerusalem. Palestinians have said that in any final agreement, Israel must cede the eastern half of the city to serve as the capital of a Palestinian state. Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war.