PM Netanyahu: Obstacle to regional peace, Israel’s misrepresentation in Arab world’s public opinion

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a special Knesset session marking 40 years to late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel’s Parliament, declared that since the historic visit, peace with Egypt has traversed all the pitfalls, maintaining an open channel of communication between Jerusalem and Cairo that is vital to the security of both countries. The Israeli leader further emphasized that today, amid clear regional challenges, many countries that perceived Israel as an obstacle to regional stability, have come to realize that the Jewish state is the moderate, responsible and tough actor that has become a key contributor in the battle against radical and violent Islam. Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Today – four decades after Sadat’s visit to Israel – large parts of the Arab world understand not only what happened here forty years ago, they understand very well what can happen here because of the changes taking place in the region. Many countries know that the threat to the Middle East does not stem from Israel, but rather the opposite: Israel is the moderate, responsible and tough factor that is struggling, together with them, against this threat. The greatest threat in the region stems from radical and violent Islam, led by Iran on the one hand and by Daesh (Islamic State) on the other, radical Islam that brutally tramples everything in its path,” the Israeli leader declared.

Prime Minister Netanyahu took the opportunity to reiterate Israel’s commitment to “expending the circle of peace,” while stressing that while regional leaders have accepted Israel’s legitimacy, the main obstacle to realizing peace is a deep, distorted and mislead presentation of Israel on the Arab streets, after years of propaganda against the Jewish state and its people. Netanyahu stressed, “We are committed to expanding the circle of peace to other countries as well as to our Palestinian neighbors. I know that President Trump and his team are also committed to this goal. The greatest obstacle to the expansion of peace today is not found in the leaders of the countries around us. The obstacle is public opinion on the Arab street, public opinion that has been brainwashed for years by a distorted and misleading presentation of the State of Israel.” That said, Netanyahu pointed to certain meager changes in the Arab world’s public opinion toward Israel, stressing the importance of encouraging this change, by combating – what he termed as – a historic propaganda wall of deception.