News / Middle East

Netanyahu: Israel Must Rely Only on Itself

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Robert Berger

On the eve of Israel's 62nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the nation must not rely on the help of foreigners.  He was quoting from the founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl.

Mr. Netanyahu told the Cabinet that according to Herzl, Israel can rely only on itself.

Commentators say it is a clear reference to Israeli ties with the United States, which have plummeted over Jewish construction in disputed in East Jerusalem.  The U.S. backs Palestinian demands that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

But Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its eternal capital, and Mr. Netanyahu, who heads a right-wing government, has rejected U.S. demands to stop building there.  As a result, the Palestinians have refused to return to U.S.-sponsored peace talks, and the diplomatic process has been deadlocked for 15 months.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak took a softer approach.

Barak said Israel would not make any compromises when it comes to the security of the state.  But he said it would show courage in the struggle for peace with the Palestinians based on the two-state solution.

Independence Day begins at sundown on Monday amid tight security.  Fearing terrorist attacks, Israel has sealed off the West Bank, barring Palestinians from entering the country.

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