The West Bank paradise, claims Israeli leader

Benjamin Netanyahu, a man of peace, speaks at the Jewish Federations of North America:

My friends, my government is working to advance peace and we are not just talking.

We have removed hundreds of security checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank. I personally extended the hours of operation on the Allenby Bridge and I’ve removed bureaucratic hurdles to Palestinian economic development.

These efforts, along with measures taken by the Palestinian Authority to improve security, have spurred an unmatched boom in the West Bank and has made life better for ordinary Palestinians.

For the first time in years, businesses, banks and industry are sprouting. Restaurants, theaters, and shopping malls are overflowing. Thousands and thousands of Palestinian jobs are being created.

I think we can do a lot more to improve the reality on the ground, and we will. I intend to do a lot more.

Prosperity can help advance peace – but only so far. To truly resolve the outstanding issues between us, we must begin and complete peace negotiations.

We should not place preconditions for holding talks. Such obstacles to talks were never set in the 16 years of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. From the day my government was sworn in seven months ago, I have been calling for peace negotiations to start.

I said I would go anywhere, anytime to advance peace. And no Israeli government has been so willing to restrain settlement activity as part of an effort to re-launch peace talks. So I say today to the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas: let us seize the moment to reach an historic agreement. Let us begin talks immediately.