Report: Netanyahu to Give Second ‘Bar-Ilan Speech’ Entitled ‘The Jewish State in 2020,’ May Set New Policy
by Joshua Levitt
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to give a major speech in October entitled “The Jewish State in 2020” that could outline new policies towards the Palestinian Authority, four years after delivering a major policy speech at the same venue, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, at Bar-Ilan University, in Ramat Gan, Israel, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported Monday.
Ma’ariv cited unnamed sources who said the October 6, 2013, speech would not be routine, and would cover issues that the prime minister “attaches great importance to, and the contents of it will have a significant impact on government policy regarding the Palestinian issue in the coming years.”
In his previous “Bar-Ilan speech,” in April, 2009, Netanyahu “made “‹”‹a 180 degree turn from overwhelmingly opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state, to supporting the idea,” the newspaper said. In that speech, for the first time Netanyahu endorsed the concept of a Palestinian state partly due to pressure from the Obama administration, while insisting the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state and be totally demilitarized.
Ma’ariv said the speech may be used to float the idea that rather than seek a final settlement agreement with the Palestinian Authority, including a withdrawal from the regions of Judea and Samaria, claimed by the Palestinians, and the division of Jerusalem, policy should be directed towards reaching a “long-term interim agreement” with the PA. The speech would be made against a much different background than four years ago, with U.S.-brokered peace talks expected to go on through April, 2014, and increased violence across the Middle East.