PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting, 12 February
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 12 February 2017), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:
"Tomorrow I will leave for Washington to meet with President Donald Trump. We have known each other for years, but this will be his first meeting since being elected President of the United States and mine as Prime Minister of Israel. This is also a very important meeting for Israel's security, Israel's strengthening international position and our overall national interests.
Ahead of the meeting, I have held many discussions in recent days with the heads of the security establishment, the National Security Council, the Foreign Ministry and, of course, I have also held additional consultations. I hear and understand that there is great excitement ahead of this meeting, with all different kinds of motivation behind it, but I have only one motivation: My supreme consideration is to be concerned, first of all, for the security of the State of Israel, to strengthen the steadfast alliance with the US, and to strengthen our other national interests which are fundamentally connected to the strength of ties with the US. This requires a responsible and considered policy – and thus I intend to act. I have navigated Israeli-US relations in a prudent manner and I will continue to do so now.
We will submit to the government a proposal to extend the tenure of IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot by an additional year. The Chief-of-Staff enjoys my great appreciation and I am certain yours as well. I think that this is reflected in the regard of Israel's citizens. Continuity in building up the strength of the IDF and our preparedness regarding various challenges are, of course, important.
Regarding these challenges I would like to reiterate: In the face of recent events such as the firing at Eilat and in other areas, we have a very clear policy. We will respond strongly and aggressively to any attack. We are not prepared to accept a passive drizzle and we make it clear that whoever attacks us will pay dearly. We are not set on escalation, but we do not fear at all to respond strongly to whoever would attack us.
Finally, several days ago I was informed of the possibility of the appointment of Salaam Fayyad to a UN position. I said that the time has come for reciprocity in the UN's relations with Israel and free gifts cannot be constantly given to the Palestinian side. The time has come for positions and appointments to be made to the Israeli side as well. Should there be an appropriate appointment, we will consider it."