Israel Musings October 1, 2014: Obama, Netanyahu discuss Iran, Palestinians in friendlier White House meeting

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama, Netanyahu discuss Iran, Palestinians in friendlier White House meeting

By Bonnie K. Goodman

In a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 that was less acrimonious than their last, President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office. For Netanyahu the most important part…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 1, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s Remarks before Bilateral Meeting — Transcript

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Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel Before Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 10-1-14

Oval Office

11:23 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it’s good once again to welcome the Prime Minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu.  Obviously, he’s no stranger to the White House.  I think I’ve met with Bibi more than any world leader during my tenure as President.

We meet at a challenging time.  Israel is obviously in a very turbulent neighborhood, and this gives us an opportunity once again to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and our ironclad commitment to making sure that Israel is secure.

Throughout the summer, obviously all of us were deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza.  I think the American people should be very proud of the contributions that we made to the Iron Dome program to protect the lives of Israelis at a time when rockets were pouring into Israel on a regular basis.  I think we also recognize that we have to find ways to change the status quo so that both Israeli citizens are safe in their own homes and schoolchildren in their schools from the possibility of rocket fire, but also that we don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.

And so we’ll discuss extensively both the situation of rebuilding Gaza but also how can we find a more sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Our agenda will be broader than that, obviously.  I’ll debrief Bibi on the work that we’re doing to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, and the broader agenda that I discussed at the United Nations, which is mobilizing a coalition not only for military action, but also to bring about a shift in Arab states and Muslim countries that isolate the cancer of violent extremism that is so pernicious and ultimately has killed more Muslims than anything else.

And we’ll also have an opportunity to discuss the progress that’s being made with respect to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, which obviously has been a high priority for not only Israel, but also the United States and the world community.

So we have a lot to talk about, and I appreciate very much the Prime Minister coming.  It’s challenging I think for an Israeli Prime Minister to have to work so hard during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but I know that the Prime Minister’s utmost priority is making sure that his country is safe during these difficult times.  And we’re glad that the United States can be a partner in that process.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Mr. President, first I want to thank you.  I want to thank you for the unflinching support you gave Israel during our difficult days and difficult summer we had — expressed in so many ways, but also in an additional installment of support for Iron Dome, which has saved so many lives, saved many lives across the border.  And I thank you for that, and for the continuous bond of friendship that is so strong between Israel and the United States.

I also want to thank you for this opportunity to meet with you and to discuss the enormous challenges facing the United States and Israel in the Middle East.  There’s definitely a new Middle East.  I think it poses new dangers, but it also presents new opportunities.

As for the dangers, Israel fully supports your effort and your leadership to defeat ISIS.  We think everybody should support this.  And even more critical is our shared goal of preventing Iran from becoming a military nuclear power.

As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you’ve worked so hard to put in place, and leave it as a threshold nuclear power.  I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen.

Equally, I think that there are opportunities.  And the opportunities, as you just expressed, is something that is changing in the Middle East, because out of the new situation, there emerges a commonality of interests between Israel and leading Arab states.  And I think that we should work very hard together to seize on those common interests and build a positive program to advance a more secure, more prosperous and a more peaceful Middle East.

I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements on the ground.  And I believe we should make use of the new opportunities, think outside the box, see how we can recruit the Arab countries to advance this very hopeful agenda.  And I look forward to our discussions on these and many other matters.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:29 A.M. EDT

Israel Musings September 30, 2014: Netanyahu in powerful UN address equates ISIS with Hamas, Iran greatest threat

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Netanyahu in powerful UN address equates ISIS with Hamas, Iran greatest threat

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promise to “refute all of the lies being directed at us” when he boarded his flight to New York on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, and when he delivered his address to…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 30, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to Jewish Federation Leaders in New York — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks to Jewish Federation Leaders in New York

Source: PMO, 9-30-14
יום שלישי ו’ תשרי תשע”ה

Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, in New York, met with Jewish federation leaders and made the following remarks:

“Every time I come to the UN I try to tell the truth as it is. But here’s a picture I didn’t show in the UN yesterday. This is an impending execution. But this isn’t ISIS, this is Hamas. And during the recent fighting in Gaza, right around the time that ISIS was doing its grisly deeds, Hamas executed dozens of Palestinians just to impose fear and force the population of Gaza into submission. It’s true there are some differences between Hamas and ISIS – for example ISIS beheads people and Hamas puts a bullet in the back of their heads. But to the victims, and the victims’ families, the horror is the same. The point I was trying to make yesterday and I’m making today is that we are faced with a world-wide network of militant Islamists, groups and regimes. It’s not that they have a common war-room. They have war-rooms against each other because all of them wish to dominate first the region in which they are in and then ultimately the entire world. But they all share this fanatic ideology; they all have not only unbridled ambitions but also savage methods. And the more they have the capability to realize their ambitions, the more they’ll unleash their pent-up aggression against our common civilizations.

This is the point that I think is most important – We all support the efforts led by President Obama to stop and defeat ISIS, there’s no question that that has to be done. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is, as I said yesterday and I’ll say it again, is to win the battle and lose the war. We have to stop ISIS, defeat ISIS, but we have to prevent Iran from getting the capability to produce nuclear weapons.”

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 29, 2014: Transcript of PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the 2014 UN General Assembly

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Transcript of Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the 2014 UN General Assembly

Source: Haaretz, 9-29-14

 

Netanyahu holds up a photograph as he addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly.

Netanyahu holds up a photograph as he addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly, September 29, 2014. Photo by Reuters

Israel, General Debate, 69th Session

Source: UN, 9-29-14

29 Sep 2014 – Address by His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel at the general debate of the 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (New York, 24-30 September 2014)….VIEW VIDEO

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Thank you, Mr. President. Distinguished delegates, I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel. I’ve come here to speak about the dangers we face and about the opportunities we seek. I’ve come here to expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and against the brave soldiers who defend it.

Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel pray for peace, but our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace are in danger because everywhere we look militant Islam is on the march. It’s not militants. It’s not Islam. It’s militant Islam. And typically its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one: Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds. No creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights. And it’s rapidly spreading in every part of the world.

You know the famous American saying, all politics is local? For the militant Islamists, all politics is global, because their ultimate goal is to dominate the world. Now, that threat might seem exaggerated to some since it starts out small, like a cancer that attacks a particular part of the body. But left unchecked, the cancer grows, metastasizing over wider and wider areas. To protect the peace and security of the world, we must remove this cancer before it’s too late.

Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS, and yet weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.

ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control. Listen to ISIS’ self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This is what he said two months ago: A day will soon come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master. The Muslims will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism and destroy the idol of democracy. Now listen to Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas. He proclaims a similar vision of the future: We say this to the West — by Allah you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world.

As Hamas’ charter makes clear, Hamas’ immediate goal is to destroy Israel, but Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists, and that’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered in 9/11, and that’s why its leaders condemn the United States for killing Osama bin Laden whom they praised as a holy warrior.

So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas. And what they share in common all militant Islamists share in common. Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in Somalia, Hezbollah in Lebanon, al-Nusra in Syria, the Mahdi army in Iraq, and the al-Qaida branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.

Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shiites, some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the seventh century, others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the ninth century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their battle for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever-expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance, where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice, convert or die. For them, anyone can be considered an infidel, including fellow Muslims.

Ladies and gentlemen, militant Islam’s ambition to dominate the world seems mad, but so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept into power eight decades ago. The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree who among them will be the master of the master faith. That’s what they truly disagree about. And therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions.

There is one place where that could soon happen — the Islamic State of Iran. For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words. “We will export our revolution to the entire world until the cry ‘there is no god but Allah’ will echo throughout the world over.” And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran’s revolutionary guards, have done exactly that.

Listen to its current commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari. And he clearly stated his goal. He said “Our imam did not limit the Islamic revolution to this country, our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government.”

Iran’s President Rouhani stood here last week and shed crocodile tears over what he called the globalization of terrorism. Maybe he should spare us those phony tears and have a word instead with the commanders of Iran’s revolutionary guards. He could ask them to call off Iran’s global terror campaign, which has included attacks in two dozen countries on five continents since 2011 alone.

You know, to say that Iran doesn’t practice terrorism is like saying Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees. This is — this bemoaning by the Iranian president of the spread of terrorism has got to be one of history’s greatest displays of doubletalk.

Now, some argue that Iran’s global terror campaign, its subversion of countries throughout the Middle East and well beyond the Middle East, some argue that this is the work of the extremists. They say things are changing. They point to last year’s election in Iran. They claim that Iran’s smooth-talking president and foreign minister, they’ve changed not only the tone of Iran’s foreign policy but also its substance. They believe that Rouhani and Zarif (generally/genuinely ?) want to reconcile with the West, that they’ve abandoned the global mission of the Islamic Revolution. Really?

So let’s look at what Foreign Minister Zarif wrote in his book just a few years ago:

We have a fundamental problem with the West, and especially with America. This is because we are heirs to a global mission which is tied to our raison d’être, a global mission which is tied to our very reason for being.

And then Zarif asks a question — I think an interesting one. He says: How come Malaysia — he’s referring to an overwhelmingly Muslim country — how come Malaysia doesn’t have similar problems? And he answers: Because Malaysia is not trying to change the international order.

That’s your moderate. So don’t be fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive. It’s designed for one purpose and for one purpose only: to lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran’s path to the bomb. The Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement that will remove the sanctions it still faces and leave it with a capacity of thousands of refugees — of centrifuges, rather — to enrich uranium. This would effectively cement Iran’s place as a threshold military nuclear power. And in the future, at the time of its choosing, Iran, the world’s most dangerous regime, in the world’s most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons. Allowing that to happen would pose the gravest threat to us all. It’s one thing to confront militant Islamists on pickup trucks armed with Kalashnikov rifles. It’s another thing to confront militant Islamists armed with weapons of mass destruction.

I remember that last year, everyone here was rightly concerned about the chemical weapons in Syria, including the possibility that they would fall into the hands of terrorists. Well, that didn’t happen, and President Obama deserves great credit for leading the diplomatic effort to dismantle virtually all of Syria’s chemical weapons capability. Imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic State, ISIS, would be if it possessed chemical weapons. Now imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic state of Iran would be if it possessed nuclear weapons.

Ladies and gentlemen, would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop intercontinental ballistic missiles? Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn’t let the Islamic state of Iran do those things either, because here’s what will happen. Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charms and all the smiles will suddenly disappear. They’ll just vanish. And it’s then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world.

There’s only one responsible course of action to address this threat. Iran’s nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled. (Applause.) Make no mistake: ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war. (Applause.) To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.

Ladies and gentlemen, the fight against militant Islam is indivisible. When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it’s set back in every place. That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just our fight, it’s your fight. Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow. For 50 days this past summer Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran. I want you to think about what your countries would do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities. Imagine millions of your citizens having seconds at most to scramble to bomb shelters day after day. You wouldn’t let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity, nor would you let terrorists dig dozens of terror tunnels under your borders to infiltrate your towns in order to murder and kidnap your citizens. Israel justly defended itself against both rocket attacks and terror tunnels. (Applause.)

Yet Israel faced another challenge. We faced a propaganda war because in an attempt to win the world sympathy, Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It used schools — not just schools; UN schools — private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel. As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically but unintentionally killed. There are heartrending images that resulted, and these fueled libelous charges that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians. We were not. We deeply regret every single civilian casualties.

And the truth is this: Israel was doing everything to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on Palestinian television, all this to enable Palestinian civilians to evaluate targeted areas. No other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies. (Applause.)

Now, this concern for Palestinian life was all the more remarkable given that Israeli civilians were being bombarded by rockets day after day, night after night. And as their families were being rocketed by Hamas, Israel’s citizen army, the brave soldiers of the IDF, our young boys and girls, they upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world. (Applause.) Israel’s soldiers deserve not condemnation but admiration, admiration from decent people everywhere. (Applause.)

Now, here is what Hamas did. Here is what Hamas did. Hamas embedded its missile batteries in residential areas and told Palestinians to ignore Israel’s warnings to leave. And just in case people didn’t get the message, they executed Palestinian civilians in Gaza who dared to protest. And no less reprehensible, Hamas deliberately placed its rockets where Palestinian children live and play. Let me show you a photograph. It was taken by a France 24 crew during the recent conflict. It shows two Hamas rocket launchers, which were used to attack us. You see three children playing next to them. Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas like this — hundreds of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a war crime. And I say to President Abbas, these are the crimes, the war crimes, committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government which you head and you are responsible for. And these are the real war crimes you should have investigated or spoken out against from this podium last week. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, as Israel’s children huddle in bomb shelters and Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense knocked Hamas rockets out of the sky, the profound moral difference between Israel and Hamas couldn’t have been clearer. Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles. (Applause.)

By investigating Israel rather than Hamas for war crimes, the UN Human Rights Council has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. In fact, what it’s doing is to turn the laws of war upside down. Israel, which took unprecedented steps to minimize civilian casualties — Israel is condemned. Hamas, which both targeted and hid behind civilians — that’s a double war crime — Hamas is given a pass.

The Human Rights Council is thus sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: Use civilians as a human shield. Use them again and again and again. And you know why? Because, sadly, it works. By granting international legitimacy to the use of human shields, the UN Human Rights Council has thus become a terrorist rights council, and it will have repercussions — it probably already has — about the use of civilians as human shields. It’s not just our interests. It’s not just our values that are under attack. It’s your interests and your values.

Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world steeped in tyranny and terror where gays are hanged from cranes in Tehran, political prisoners are executed in Gaza, young girls are abducted en masse in Nigeria, and hundreds of thousands are butchered in Syria, Libya and Iraq, yet nearly half — nearly half of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolutions focusing on a single country have been directed against Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East; Israel, where issues are openly debated in a boisterous parliament, where human rights are protected by the — by independent courts, and where women, gays and minorities live in a genuinely free society.

The human rights — that’s an oxymoron, the human — UN Human Rights Council, but I’ll use it just the same. The council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of one of the world’s largest prejudices. We hear mobs today in Europe call for the gassing of Jews. We hear some national leaders compare Israel to the Nazis. This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It’s a function of diseased minds. and that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism. It is now spreading in polite society where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel.

For centuries the Jewish people have been demonized with blood libels and charges of deicide. Today the Jewish state is demonized with the apartheid libel and charges of genocide — genocide. In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy civilian population to get out of harm’s way, or ensuring that they receive tons — tons of humanitarian aid each day even as thousands of rockets are being fired at us, or setting up a field hospital to aid their wounded?

Well, I suppose it’s the same moral universe where a man who wrote a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust and who insists on a Palestine free of Jews — Judenrein — can stand at this podium and shamelessly accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. In the past, outrageous lies against the Jews were the precursors to the wholesale slaughter of our people, but no more. Today, we, the Jewish people, have the power to defend ourselves. We will defend ourselves against our enemies on the battlefield — (applause) — we will expose their lies against us in the court of public opinion. Israel will continue to stand proud and unbowed. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, despite the enormous challenges facing Israel, I believe we have a historic opportunity. After decades of seeing Israel as their enemy, leading states in the Arab world increasingly recognize that together, we and they face many of the same dangers, and principally, this means a nuclear-armed Iran and militant Islamist movements gaining ground in the Sunni world. Our challenge is to transform these common interests to create a productive partnership, one that would build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Together, we can strengthen regional security, we can advance projects in water and agricultural, in transportation and health and energy in so many fields.

I believe the partnership between us can also help facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Now, many have long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace can help facilitate a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world. But these days, I think it may work the other way around, namely that a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace. And therefore, to achieve that peace, we must look not only to Jerusalem and Ramallah but also to Cairo, to Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere.

I believe peace can be realized with the active involvement of Arab countries — those that are willing to provide political, material and other indispensable support. I’m ready to make a historic compromise, not because Israel occupies a foreign land. The people of Israel are not occupiers in the land of Israel. (Applause.) History, archaeology and common sense all make clear that we have had a singular attachment to this land for over 3,000 years.

I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people, but it must be a genuine peace — one that is anchored in mutual recognition and enduring security arrangements — rock solid security arrangements on the ground, because you see, Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza created two militant Islamic enclaves on our borders for which tens of thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel, and these sobering experiences heightens Israel’s security concerns (regarding ?) potential territorial concessions in the future.

Now, those security concerns are even greater today. Just look around you. The Middle East is in chaos, states are disintegrating, and militant Islamists are filling the void. Israel cannot have territories from which it withdraws taken over by Islamic militants yet again, as happened in Gaza and Lebanon. That would place the likes of ISIS within mortar range, a few miles, of 80 percent of our population.

Now think about that. The distance between the 1967 lines and the suburbs of Tel Aviv is like the distance between the UN building here and Times Square. Israel is a tiny country. That’s why in any peace agreement, which will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise, I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself against any threat. (Applause.)

And yet despite everything that has happened, some still don’t take Israel’s security concerns seriously. But I do and I always will — (applause) — because as prime minister of Israel, I’m entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the future of the Jewish state. And no matter what pressure is brought to bear, I will never waiver in fulfilling that responsibility. (Applause.)

I believe that with a fresh approach from our neighbors, we can advance peace despite the difficulties we face. See, in Israel, we have a record of making the impossible possible. We’ve made a desolate land flourish, and with very few natural resources, we’ve used the fertile minds of our people to turn Israel into a global center of technology and innovation, and peace, of course, would enable Israel to realize its full potential and to bring a promising future not only for our people, not only for the Palestinian people, but for many, many others in our region.

But the old template for peace must be updated. It must take into account new realities and new roles and responsibilities for our Arab neighbors.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a new Middle East. It presents new dangers but also new opportunities. Israel is prepared to work with Arab partners and the international community to confront those dangers and to seize those opportunities. Together, we must recognize the global threat of militant Islam, the primacy of dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapons capability and the indispensable role of Arab states in advancing peace with the Palestinians. All this may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s the truth, and the truth must always be spoken, especially here in the United Nations. (Applause.)

Isaiah, our great prophet of peace, taught us nearly 3,000 years ago in Jerusalem to speak truth to power. (Speaks in Hebrew.) For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent, for the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still until her justice shines bright and her salvation glows like a flaming torch.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us light a torch of truth and justice to safeguard our common future. Thank you. (Applause.)

(END)

Israel Political Brief September 29, 2014: Liveblog: PM Benjamin Netanyahu set to give ‘razor sharp’ rebuttal to Abbas during UN address

Israel Political Brief September 29, 2014: WATCH LIVE: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses UN General Assembly

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WATCH LIVE: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses UN General Assembly

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday, September 29, at 12:00 pm EST/ 7:00 pm Israel time.

The prime minister is expected to discuss Iran, Palestinian demands of statehood and issue a sharp response to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech.

Click below to watch his address live via UN Web TV….

If the live stream does not work, click here to watch on the UN website…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 28, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Upon Leaving for the US Promises to Refute Abbas’ lies in UN Speech

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Upon Leaving for the US

Source: PMO, 9-28-14
יום ראשון ד’ תשרי תשע”ה

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 28 September 2014), made the following remarks upon leaving for the US to address the UN General Assembly:

“In my address to the UN General Assembly, I will refute all of the lies being directed at us and I will tell the truth about our state and about the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world.”

Full Text JBuzz Transcripts September 23, 2014: President Barack Obama Wishes The American Jewish Community a Sweet, Happy, and Healthy New Year

Originally posted on JBuzz:

JBUZZ TRANSCRIPTS: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Wishing You a Sweet, Happy, and Healthy New Year

Shanah Tovah from the White House! On Wednesday evening, Jews in the United States and around the world will begin celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

The High Holidays offer the Jewish community a moment of pause, a time to reflect on the previous year and recommit to the unending task of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Together, working with people of all faiths, we can bring greater peace and prosperity to the world in 5775.

In his 2014 video message for the High Holidays, President Obama extends his wishes for a sweet new year and discusses why this time of year is so significant.

Watch on YouTube

Read the remarks:

Hello. As Jews across America, Israel, and the world gather together for the High Holidays, Michelle…

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Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana Greeting to Jewish Communities Around the World — Transcript

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana Greeting to Jewish Communities Around the World

Source: PMO, 9-23-14
יום שלישי כ”ח אלול תשע”ד

“My friends,
As Jews celebrate the New Year around the world, we can take pride in all that unites us. The Jewish people indeed always unite when faced with great challenges, and the past year was no exception.
Over the past few months, three of our teenagers were kidnapped and brutally murdered, thousands of rockets were fired at our country and too many of our bravest young men and their families made the most painful of sacrifices in Operation Protective Edge.
Throughout all that, we witnessed tremendous support for Israel from Jewish communities everywhere. And at the same time, we in Israel know that it has been a difficult period for many of your Jewish communities. You face increasingly virulent and even violent anti-Semitism.
So on behalf of the people of Israel, I thank you for supporting our just campaign to defend ourselves; to provide the sustained peace and security that all Israelis deserve. And I assure you that we in Israel will continue to stand by your side as you confront hatred and intolerance. Jews everywhere must be able to live proudly and without fear.
As we celebrate Rosh Hashana with our families and friends, we should also celebrate the strength we derive from our commitment to one other. That strength will serve us well as we meet the challenges – and also the remarkable opportunities – of the New Year.
Israel is an amazing success story. The Jewish people are again sovereign and free in our own homeland. Together we have built a vibrant democracy, a robust economy, a global technological powerhouse.
In the New Year, Israel will remain a beacon of freedom and human rights in an intolerant area; Israel will continue to be a source of innovation to the benefit of the entire planet; and Israel will not give up its dream of a secure and enduring peace with all our neighbors.
Israel will remain a source of pride and strength for Jews, no matter where they live and I have no doubt that the future of the Jewish people is one of hope and promise.
So on this holiday of Rosh Hashana, that is definitely something we can all celebrate. Shana Tova to all of you”.

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2014: President Reuven Rivlin’s Rosh Hashanah message — Transcript

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Rosh Hashanah message from the President of Israel

Source: MFA, 9-23-14

MFASummaryNew

Message from the President of the State of Israel to the Jewish Communities of the Diaspora on the occasion of the New Year – Rosh Hashanah 5775

Brothers and sisters,
Leaders of the Jewish communities of the Diaspora and their friends,
According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah represents a time of personal, community and national soul-searching. In the shadow of the events of the past months, this year, here in Israel, these days of reflection are reaffirmed and take on a special meaning.
With the kidnapping and murder of the four teenagers: Naftali, Gilad, Eyal and Muhammad; and the ongoing campaign in southern Israel in the background, the citizens of Israel and their leaders were faced with difficult dilemmas: the responsibility to defend our homes and land, alongside the concern of harming innocent people; the commitment to enable a free democratic dialogue, versus the need to set clear limits to restrain manifestations of inflammatory behavior and incitement. Israel had to respond to the threats of terror organizations from the outside, while maintaining its image and values as a Jewish and democratic state that is committed to international law and is dedicated to providing all its citizens with equality and dignity, Arabs and Jews alike.
The resilience of Israel is not based on its military strength, but emanates from the liberal, democratic and Jewish values on which it was founded. Even at a time when Israel is required to mobilize its military front, it cannot ignore its home front and the surge of violent political manifestations of incitement and hate in its streets. Israel’s leadership and Israel’s society are judged not only by their military resiliency, but also by their civil resiliency, not only in normal times, but also in times of crisis.
In the course of Operation Protective Edge, I felt that Israel was not alone in the arena. Leaders of the free world and many of the members of the various Jewish movements and communities stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel, supporting its duty to defend its citizens and identifying with its efforts to restore peace to Israel’s southern communities.
On the threshold of the New Year, I want to thank you, leaders and members of the Jewish communities, for your support of Israel’s soldiers and its home front, and especially its southern communities. It is with much anticipation that I hope we shall continue to stand together in the face of the challenges awaiting the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora in the future, generated by a sense of mutual responsibility and partnership.
Dear Friends,
The coming year is marked by Jewish tradition as a shmita year, a sabbatical year for land and man. The observance of shmita serves to slow down the economic race and utilitarianism, and see in others, a human being. I pray that this year the gates of our hearts will open to let in compassion, generosity and mutual responsibility. May the coming year bring the sound of joy, a symphony of miscellaneous Jewish voices that will unite us all as a family, community and people.
כתיבה וחתימה טובה!
Shana Tova Ve’Metuka,
Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting About Fulfilling Pledge to Find Murderers of Three Israeli Teens — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 9-23-14
יום שלישי כ”ח אלול תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made the following remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting:

“When we found the bodies of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal , I said that whoever perpetrated the kidnapping and murder of our boys would bear the consequences and added that we would not rest until we had reached the last of them wherever they were hiding. I also said that this was our first mission and that it would be carried out. This morning it was carried out .
We said from the outset that Hamas was responsible for the abduction and murder and in light of the proof we have accumulated Hamas admitted that it was behind this terrorist attack.

I would like to commend the outstanding intelligence work of the ISA. I would like to commend the ISA, the Israel Police Anti-Terror Unit and the IDF. On behalf of the people of Israel I salute you for your precise and important operation. We will continue strike at terrorism everywhere. A few days after the attack I said near Hebron, the city of the patriarchs, that we would pursue the enemy, find them and not return until they had been dealt with. This morning the long arm of Israeli justice did just this.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he had spoken earlier this morning with the parents of the three youths and continued, “With the advent of the New Year, nothing can assuage their pain and nothing can bring back their wonderful, dear boys. But I told them that justice has been done and that we had carried out the mission that we promised to them and all of Israel.”

The Prime Minister added: “Today, the Cabinet will discuss a proposal to invest an additional NIS 2 billion in the communities of the south .

The plan includes building an additional hospital in Be’er Sheva, paving roads, assisting small and intermediate businesses, and developing tourism enterprises in the south and around the country in the wake of Operation Protective Edge. These decisions are in addition to the decision we made on Sunday to add over NIS 1 billion for Sderot and the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip .

I told the mayors and local council heads that I met with yesterday at the Eshkol Regional Council that the State of Israel was not making these unprecedented investments just for show. We are doing so with a two-fold goal – investing in and deepening our hold on all parts of the country but also as a message to those who seek to uproot us, that they will never succeed in doing so. We are all responsible for this.

I would like to wish all citizens of Israel a good and happy New Year .

I would also like to wish ministers a good and happy year. We are working together in order to ensure the future of the State of Israel and the people of Israel. May we all have a good, prosperous, safe and quiet year.”

Israel Brief September 22, 2014: Israel’s population reaches 8.9 million ahead of Rosh Hashanah

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Israel’s population reaches 8.9 million ahead of Rosh Hashanah

Source: JNS.org, 9-22-14

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Israeli population has reached 8.9 million, the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed in its annual report ahead of Rosh Hashanah. As of Sunday, the population of Israel was exactly 8,904,373 people….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 21, 2014: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on the economy, rebuilding up the South and Cyber Security

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 9-21-14
יום ראשון כ”ו אלול תשע”ד
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“Today, the Cabinet will approve a NIS 1.3 billion supplement for Sderot and the communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. This is the largest investment that the State of Israel has ever made in this area. This is in addition to the NIS 417 million that we transferred during Operation Protective Edge (<. We are developing a new industrial zone in Sderot, transportation infrastructure in the area and are encouraging young people and students to move to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

We came to this country to build and to be built. We came to this part of our land in order to build and be built in it and nobody will uproot us. We will strengthen our hold and our development of this area just as in other areas. I say ‘as in other areas’ because on Tuesday we will submit for Cabinet approval a supplement regarding an approximately NIS 2 billion in additional funds for the communities and cities of the south . In the framework of this decision, we will build a new hospital in Be’er Sheva, in addition to the hundreds of additional beds for the existing Soroka Medical Center.

We will connect new natural gas infrastructures for the benefit of factories in the south. We will invest in initiatives to connect the Negev in the framework of the Digital Israel program. We will encourage small and mid-size businesses. We will develop tourism and all aspects of life including the important cyber aspect for all residents of the Negev, including Bedouin. This is a deep commitment on our part. I think that it has found expression.

I mentioned the word ‘cyber’. I would like to update the public and the Cabinet that I decided last week to develop a national authority on the cyber issue to arrange and see to defending the entire State of Israel on the cyber issue. That is, defending not only important facilities and security agencies, but how to defend Israeli citizens against these attacks. This is the establishment of a new authority. It is, in effect, the creation of an air force against new threats and not rely on this being carried out by existing agencies. We are in a new world; we are preparing with new forces. This has very major significance for the defense of the State of Israel in the future.

Standard and Poor’s has maintained Israel’s A+ credit rating , but it must be noted that they said that this is based on the assumption that Israel will continue the responsible economic policy that we have led in recent years and not deviate from it. I think that this obligates us to an even greater effort that we have not yet completed in order to maintain security needs alongside the necessary economic responsibility, as well as the other needs of the State of Israel. In the end we are standing here with several clear components and the effort is yet before us.

I would also like to announce that, as of now, according to very interesting statistics, most of which are positive, the State of Israel in 2013 (there is always a one year lag), officially, I can tell Israelis on the eve of Rosh Hashanah , that Israel’s population has passed eight million. No less important, for the first time in the history of the State of Israel, more than six million Jews live here. This number has great significance in light of our people’s history in the previous century as well as in the current one.

While we never lack constant challenges from all sides I think that we proved over the past year that we can overcome them. Our strongest quality is the unity of the people and the heroism of our soldiers in repelling one of these threats and dealing a severe blow to our enemies on the southern border, of course.

On the eve of our holiday, I would like to send our best wishes for a full and rapid recovery to the wounded IDF soldiers and citizens and at the same time send our deepest condolences to the families of the fallen.

I would also like to commend the entire people of Israel for the determination and unity that they showed during Operation Protective Edge. I would like to send them greetings from the ministers and myself that they should now have the vacation that was denied them during the summer. Be with your families and above all, have a happy, quiet and safe year.”

5774 Year in Review: War in Gaza, upheaval in Ukraine and American Jewish assimilation made for an anxious year

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5774: War in Gaza, upheaval in Ukraine and American Jewish assimilation made for an anxious year

Source: JTA, 9-18-14

5774: War in Gaza, upheaval in Ukraine and American Jewish assimilation made for an anxious year

Read about the highs and lows of 5774 — and everything in between….READ MORE

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 14, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech addressing the 4th International Cybersecurity Conference — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu addresses the 4th International Cybersecurity Conference

Source: MFA,9-14-14

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The party behind the cyber attacks against Israel is first and foremost Iran. Iran and its proxies take advantage of the security anonymity of cyberspace to attack many other countries around the world. This will be the century where cyber security will either be achieved or we will lose the tremendous opportunities that face humanity.

PM Netanyahu addresses the 4th International Cybersecurity Conference
PM Netanyahu addresses the 4th International Cybersecurity Conference

Copyright: GPO/Avi Oyahon

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks (Sunday, 14 September 2014), at Tel Aviv University, at the 4th International Cybersecurity Conference:

Last month the State of Israel faced the threat of Hamas rockets and tunnels and overcame it. Our enemies in these various terrorist organizations, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, as they fail in the military and the terror campaigns that they launch against us, continue to try to attack us through other ways, including in the field of cyber attacks. And that is an arena that is changing, both here and elsewhere and it’s accelerating in dizzying pace.

The attack by our enemies on Israel’s civilian – and I stress civilian – internet infrastructure during the recent operation. These attacks were clearly meant to disrupt the daily lives of Israelis, to harm us, but those same attacks failed exactly in the same way as the terror campaign, as the terror attacks, the rockets and the tunnel attacks failed.

There is a world of difference however in dealing with these attacks and dealing with rockets and tunnels. With rockets and tunnels you know where they originate; you know who the enemy is. You know that virtually instantaneously. But in the cyber domain there are no sirens, and there are no instantly discernable enemies. That’s often the case. This is a space in which there isn’t a ‘here’ and a ‘there.’ There isn’t the side of Israel, the side of Gaza, and the attacks try to cross that line. In fact, it’s a very broad domain which is very hard to define where your space ends and somebody else’s space, including the attackers’, begins. So, the attacks, in a sense, always come from within.

Now, we identify those attacks, and we stop them. But the fact that the cyber attacks did not affect Israel’s daily routine and economy and they certainly did not affect the IDF efforts – those facts derive from the fact that we have the finest minds, literally, the finest minds in Israel’s security community and our cyber industry working to give us those defenses. There’s an iron dome of cyber security that parallels the Iron Dome against the rockets and this allowed us the operating space to continue fighting and of course to continue with the daily life of Israel.

A year ago at this conference, I described the threat developing in the cyber sphere against Israel and the actions that our enemies – headed by Iran – are taking against us in that field. We have witnessed now, in the recent operation, Hamas’s efforts against us. We saw that throughout the operation. But I want to make clear that the party behind the cyber attacks against Israel is first and foremost Iran, including in the Hamas attacks. Iran supports all our enemies; Iran is the source of most of the attacks that are launched against Israel and we are not their only targets in the cyber field. Iran and its proxies take advantage of the security anonymity of cyberspace to attack many other countries around the world.

We are unrelenting in confronting this threat. We’re increasing our efforts to deal with a range of cyber threats out of an understanding of the importance of cyber security to Israel’s continued economic growth and its security.

I mention both, because both are important: We want to protect the security of our country, the security and privacy of our citizens, but at the same time, we also identify great economic opportunity.

We’re currently advancing a number of dramatic actions that I think will transform the cyber field in Israel. This is a work in process for us and for our allies around the world, for every country. Cyber is moving very rapidly. It’s changing very rapidly and you have to decide with a certain amount of uncertainty how it is that you’re going to tackle a field as complex and as ever-changing as cyber security.

It is a daunting task, I always find the most difficult part of any change, structural change – in the economy or in education or in any field, in defense and in cyber defense – I find the greatest challenge to be not the organizational challenge, not the forces that often clash – competing interests and so on. I find the greatest challenge to be the intellectual challenge, the conceptual challenge: what is right, what is the best thing that we should do. Then you start to make all the adjustments for what is possible, what you can pay for, what is politically required and so on. You make the adjustments. You trim off the edges of the main conception. But the most important thing in any reform is the conception of what is right, what is necessary.

And in cyber this is particularly difficult for the simple reason that nobody knows. Nobody truly knows. It’s such a moving target, such an expanding and ever-changing world that you have to make certain assumptions and go with them and probably you’ll have to adjust them as you go along. Whatever it is we do, we have to allow for changes as we go along, especially in this field.

So we are going to make some strategic decisions and we are making great investments in the goal of making a quantum leap forward in the governmental and the national response in the cyber sphere. We are going to combine two important efforts: One, to transform the government into an exemplar for robust cyber defense in order to protect our digital assets and also to strengthen the trust of millions of our citizens who enjoy government services; and second, we’re going to standardize the cyber defense market in order to ensure that the entire Israeli economy will have professional people and services in the highest level.

You do that in various fields where you need specialists. Government sets standards and some checks so that the various services that are given – it doesn’t provide necessarily the services in all cases – but it makes sure that the standards are met to ensure that people are given what they deserve and we intend to do this as well. The attacks that I’ve just mentioned and many others that I haven’t mentioned I think provide additional evidence that the cyber sphere is becoming increasingly a battlefield. Israel fields it from several directions. It originates in Iran, but not only from Iran. So let me reiterate: We are bolstering our defenses and we are committed to maintaining Israel’s position as a global cyber power and as such we have to implement a policy which protects cyberspace as an open space and as the basis for global growth.

I want to assure you that Israel will always know how to use its unique strengths and knowledge to protect our country and as far as we can to protect the world’s commitment to cyber growth. Because I think that there is a tremendous responsibility that comes with power always, but also a tremendous responsibility to assure the economic opportunities that are afforded by the growth of the internet economy, the internet world. The internet of things, the internet of people, all of that creates tremendous opportunities for growth, and that growth, the increase of productivity for billions of people: instant communications, transfer of funds, the movement of ideas, the movement of capital, the movement of initiative, or enterprise – all of that is under risk by cyber attackers who have the capacity to inflict increasing damage, and the attacker always has the advantage as you well know. And so we have to work at the same time as we integrate into this modern world, as we provide entrepreneurs for this modern world, we have to work at providing security for this great change.

I believe that this is a tremendous engine of economic growth because I don’t think there’s a person on Earth who’s not going to need cyber security. I don’t think there is a nation on Earth that is not going to need cyber security. Some of them violate that security left and right, but every country and every citizen of this planet will need cyber security and this will be the century where cyber security will either be achieved or we will lose the tremendous opportunities that face humanity.

Long before the term cyber became known and commonplace, Israeli companies developed the first cyber technology: the first firewall, several of the first antivirus technologies. All these were developed here, and over the past several years we’ve seen a veritable explosion of start-up companies that are breaking new ground in dealing with a range of threats using innovative technologies and defense solutions.

I think you can see proof of this that over the last nine months alone, twenty Israeli start-up companies have raised more than 170 million dollars. The investors aren’t doing this for charity. They know why they’re here and I think you know why you’re here and we welcome you in that spirit because we think that there are tremendous opportunities for real needs for the civilized countries, real needs for their citizens and real economic opportunities that come out of these needs. Because people’s dependence on cyber keeps increasing and so is the necessity to offer cyber defense.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that cyber defense solutions will serve as the essential basis for human development and economic growth in this century. I think it’s happening before our eyes and everything that you see, these curves that seem to reach into the stratosphere, they are going to continue. They’re not going to stop, providing we solve this problem or at least control this problem or mitigate it.

And in light of these developments, three years ago we determined this area to be a top priority in our nation’s future and we’re building an Israeli cyber environment with an eye to the long-term. Israel R&D will continue to be at the forefront of many years to come thanks to the strategic investment in the industry by the government and the private sector, both in human resources and in academia. And this event I think marks a perfect example of this partnership. I think it demonstrates the importance of working together because when you’re dealing with cyber, you have to deal with the private sector, with academia and with the government. And what we believe is that we can fashion this growth by a unique system that integrates the three in a very, very determined and purposeful way.

The research center which is being launched here today as a joint initiative of the National Cyber Bureau and Tel Aviv University, under the leadership of Professor Isaac Ben Israel and with an investment of tens of millions of shekels, I think it embodies the understanding of the unique interdisciplinary nature of the cyber field and the significance of the connection between people and computers, between this software, that hardware – it has to keep evolving and changing.

We also have a flagship project, the establishment of the national cyber campus. Now here is a bit of copywriting, which is brilliant. It’s called Cyber Spark. It’s a cyber-park and it’s situated in Beersheba where we’re moving – General Alexander, we’re moving our NSA right into that campus so we have academia, government, well, security, and private investors all  within a range of 200 meters one from each other. Just in the same place. There is still a value, even in the cyber world, for people to actually be able to meet one another and exchange ideas, even face-to-face. That is still important. And that is, I think, is fast becoming a hub of global innovation and I think Beersheba will become a very, very important cyber city in the years to come. It’s already becoming that.

We are now establishing a center for applied cyber research at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, and we’re working to establish the national Cyber Event Readiness Team, CERT, which will become – well, it’s important, very important for the protection of Israel, but it’s also I think a magnet on campus and it will have its own reverberations into the economic enterprises that are attached to it.

In order to strengthen the industry, just a few weeks ago, the government decided, adopted a resolution regarding special tax benefits for companies that would establish cyber activities in the framework of Cyber Spark so you now have tax benefits. I think there are other benefits, but I want you to have all the benefits because one of the things we want to see is your partnership. We know that it’s virtually impossible to prevent, to create delineation of space where our common enemies are operating from and our own space. But at the same time, there’s every reason to incorporate our partnerships in that same spirit. If the cyberspace unites all of us, then let’s unite to protect the cyberspace. And that is why I’m so proud to be here and that is why I welcome you to Israel. I hope you look around, see if what I’m saying makes sense and if it is, invest in Israeli cyber.

Thank you very much.

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 11, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech addressing the International Conference on Counter-Terrorism — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu addresses International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

Source: MFA, 9-11-14

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International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s 14th International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

PM Netanyahu addresses International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

  PM Netanyahu addresses International Conference on Counter-Terrorism

There’s no meaningful power without responsibility. Well, you could have it but it’s worthless or worse, it could be very dangerous. So all of us entrusted in power, with power, have responsibility and I’ll talk about that later – what our responsibilities entail at this moment.

But I’d like to say a few words before that not only to you, our host, Dr. Ganor, who I remember from our youth, and the many guests here from abroad, but most especially to Ambassador Shapiro of the United States of America  and to the people of the United States.

We remember that day thirteen years ago and we mourn with you on this day for the thousands who lost their lives in that horrific attack. All of Israel mourned on September 11th. In Gaza, they were dancing on the roofs. They were handing out candy. That’s the moral divide. We mourn; they celebrate the death of thousands of innocents. And then when the US took out Bin-Laden, I speaking for virtually the entire country congratulated President Obama. In Gaza, Hamas condemned the US and called Bin-Laden a “holy warrior”, a holy warrior of Islam. That’s the moral divide. We celebrate; they mourn the death of an arch-terrorist.

Now that moral divide has never been clearer than it is today because Hamas, like al-Qaeda and its affiliates al-Nusra or its new growth ISIS or Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Hezbollah supported by Iran – all are branches of the same poisonous tree. All present a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the world and to our common civilization.

I believe that the battle against these groups is indivisible and it’s important not to let any of these groups succeed anywhere because if they gain ground somewhere, they gain ground everywhere. And their setbacks are also felt everywhere. If they gain ground, if they were to succeed, they would return humanity to a primitive early medievalism. I say early medievalism because my father, my late father was a great historian of the Middle Ages and I’d be giving them too much compliment – early medievalism, primitive early medievalism where women are treated as chattel, as property and gays are stoned and minorities persecuted if they’re left alive at all.

And these groups must be fought, they must be rolled back and they must ultimately be defeated. That’s why Israel fully supports President Obama’s call for united actions against ISIS. All civilized countries should stand together in the fight against radical terrorism that sweeps across the Middle East, sweeps across the world. And we are playing our part in this continued effort. Some of the things are known; some things are less known. We have always viewed it as our common battle for our common future.

Now the fight against Islamist terrorism has created new alliances in the Middle East because many Sunni Arab states recognize that the threat of Iran’s aggression and its radical Shiite proxies pose a fundamental danger to them, as does fundamentalist Sunni terrorism. And as a result of this, these twin threats of radical Shi’ism using terrorist tactics, radical Sunnism using terrorist tactics – as a result of this, they’re reevaluating their relationship with Israel and they understand that Israel is not their enemy but their ally in the fight against this common enemy. And I believe this presents an opportunity for cooperation and perhaps an opportunity for peace.

I think it’s crucial not to let the fight against Sunni extremism make us forget the danger of Shiite extremism. They are two sides of the same coin. We don’t have to strengthen one to weaken the other. My policy is: Weaken both. And most importantly, don’t allow any of them to get weapons of mass destruction. And that’s why the arrangement that was achieved in Syria to disband and take out the chemical weapons and chemical materials was so important. And I think President Obama had a very important achievement there. We understand what it would mean that any of these sides would have weapons of mass destruction because all you have to imagine is what would have happened if on 9/11 al-Qaeda had nuclear weapons. You know they would have used them against New York and against Washington. It’s unassailable.

These groups have absolutely no moral or other impediment to their mad desires. Once they have massive power, they will unleash all their violence, all their ideological zeal, all their hatred, with weapons of mass death. And all you have to imagine is what would have happened if al-Qaeda today had access to chemical weapons in Syria. Well then, project that: What would happen if the terrorist regime in Iran will have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons? They control themselves today. They’ve put up a good front. But they have tremendous, tremendous ambitions. Not for Iran; for Shi’ism from Iran. And those ambitions would be unleashed once they have nuclear weapons in their capacity. They must not have it.

Now the world powers are now negotiating with Iran and I hope they make a good deal because a bad deal should not be made. I’ll tell you what a good deal is: The one that was made in Syria, because what that deal said was take the chemical weapons and the materials, the chemicals themselves and the means to make the weapons, out of Syria. They didn’t say to Assad, “Keep them, store them and we’ll put an inspector. You know, we’ll lock it with a padlock and we’ll put an inspector next to it”, because at any point Assad could kick out the inspector – I’m not saying that’s Inspector Clouseau… a good inspector. But the whole idea of breakout is you throw away the inspector and you rush, once you unlock the storehouses, you rush to make the weapons. That’s what Iran is seeking. Iran is seeking to keep the enriched nuclear material, to keep the centrifuges, to keep the means to make nuclear weapons in short order – we’ll put a padlock on it and we’ll put an inspector, inspectors there. And then at a certain point when there are international crises that consume our attention, and you know these never happen these days, right? Kick out the inspectors, break the lock, you break out. Within weeks, a few months, they have nuclear weapons. That’s a bad deal.

And if Iran has nuclear weapons, you will see a tremendous pivot in the world. No, not in the Middle East – in the world. You will see things you never imagined could be possible, horrors that you couldn’t even contemplate, come to fruition. The ultimate terror: A terrorist regime with the weapons of the greatest terror of them all. We must not let that happen.

So we have no shortage of threats and they have come about as a result of the collapse of the old order. It collapsed about a hundred years ago. It collapsed rather in a way that has not happened in the last hundred years, the so-called Arab Spring, which has not materialized as some people had thought. I think it’s now clear that the forces of democracy have not come to the fore and if anything, what we’ve seen is old regimes collapse and Islamist forces come to the surface, old hatreds – Shiite against Shiite, but primarily Shiite against Sunni, Sunni against Sunni – all come bursting from subterranean layers of history and frustration. And they all have one common goal. The goal is we establish a new Islamist dominion, first in the Middle East and in their warped thinking, throughout the world. They all agree on that. They are not limited in their scope to a territory. They’re not limited to borders. They are basically… they may be pivoted in a state, they may be anchored in a particular place, but their goal is to take the entire world, to cleanse it of infidels – first their own people, Muslims, and then everyone else. Madness.

They all agree that they have to establish a caliphate. They all disagree who should be the caliph. That’s the nature of their disagreements. And they all use essentially the same tactic and that’s unbridled violence, fear – fear – terror. And the terror is first of all imposed on their own peoples. That’s the number one target before anyone else. If your people want to rise up against you as they did in Iran five years ago, you kill them. You send out your troopers to the streets, besiege and just shoot them on the sidewalks. You steal millions of votes, people protest – you shoot them. But it’s not enough to shoot them one time. You constantly shoot them or to be more precise, in Iran you hang them.

Anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people are annually executed, executed in Iran. I’m not talking about criminals; I’m not talking about people who have broken the law – people who have the temerity to have a different view, question the regime. And they’re hung in public squares and sometimes they’re hung from cranes. They don’t have enough scaffolds. And you see the same thing, the same thing – it doesn’t receive the same prominence – from ISIS, same technique. You take over a population. The first thing is, yes, you lop heads off in this tragic barbarism that we witness, but you also take people to the burial pits and you shoot them by the hundreds and thousands.

And we’ve just seen the same in Gaza. During the fighting, there was a lull. Gazans went out to look at their surroundings, started protesting at what Hamas did to them and Hamas had a very simple thing in response – they shot them. These aren’t the executions you heard about. These are the executions you didn’t hear about. And then towards the end of the fighting, just to make sure that everybody gets the message, as in Iran, as in Iraq today, so in Gaza – they take out 25 people from the jails, Fatah people who have been there for years, and they accuse them – listen to this – they accuse them that they are the ones who gave Israel real-time intelligence for our military actions. Kind of hard to do. I don’t know. Maybe we dug a tunnel underneath, came to their jail cells, received… That’s not funny. They take them out into the public squares and they put a bullet in their heads for everyone to see.

So the tactics are uniform. Terror first of all against your own people. There’s a larger imperative. We know this. We’ve seen this before. There’s a master race; now there’s a master faith. And that allows you to do anything to anyone, but first of all to your own people and then to everyone else. And what do you do to everyone else? For that you use new techniques. And the new techniques involve first of all taking over civilian populations, putting yourself inside civilian areas contravening the laws of war and the Geneva Convention; using your people as human shields, the same people you execute; and then firing indiscriminately at civilians. You hide behind civilians, you fire on civilians. And you fire rockets and missiles. And this creates a whole new set of problems. And these problems are born of the fact that it’s much harder to fight this kind of terror – much harder. It’s much easier to fight an army: tanks, artillery, command centers, open spaces. You destroy that, you destroy the army. End of war.

But these people, because they’re forcing you to face up to the moral limits that democracies obey, are basically forcing you to fight a new war and that new war requires two things. It’s requires the ability to have precision-guided munitions to be able to target the terrorists who are targeting you from inside civilians areas, but to try to limit the damage – what is called collateral damage or the incidental civilians casualties that accompany any war. Here they’re placed right in there, deliberately, by the terrorists. So you need precision weapons. You also need very precise intelligence. But the second thing – and that’s very, very expensive. I’m going to say that in Hebrew in a second. We have defense budget discussions. That’s very expensive. It’s much more expensive than dealing with tanks or artillery or regular armies.

And the second thing you have to do is defend yourself against the missiles that they pour on your own population, what we call the rear but in this case it’s the front because your cities are targeted. Well, we figured out, with the help of the United States for which we’re deeply grateful, we developed a system to protect ourselves against this terror, these terror attacks from the sky. And that too is very, very expensive.

So dealing with this new type of war actually is more difficult than dealing with the old type of war. But that’s the war that we’re facing. That’s the terror war that we now face. We face Islamist terrorists who take entire communities, cities, populations, hostage; who execute dissenters; who hide among civilians; and fire on civilians. That’s the new war. We have to make sure that they don’t have weapons of mass destruction because they have no inhibitions. But we also have to make sure that we have the capability to attack them and to defend against their attacks. And that requires weapons, defensive and offensive, but above all it requires, I believe, clarity and courage – clarity to understand they’re wrong, we’re right; they’re evil, we’re good. No moral relativism there at all. These people who lop off heads, trample human rights into the dust – are evil and they have to be resisted. Evil has to be resisted. And the second, it requires courage and responsibility. It requires courage because all the other qualities that we could bring to bear in the battle against terrorism are meaningless if you don’t have courage.

I think we have reservoirs of both, but I think that we have to also recognize that we are in a great historic juncture. I may surprise you when I tell you that I think militant Islam will be defeated. I think it will be, I think it will ultimately disappear from the stage of history because I think it’s a grand failure – it doesn’t know how to manage economies, it cannot offer the young people to which it appeals any kind of future. It can control their minds for now but ultimately the spread of information technology will obviate that, will give people choices. But this may take a long time. And we’ve been able to predict in the past that radical ideologies – which inflame the minds of millions – set their sights on minorities, usually starts with the Jews, it never ends with the Jews. They ultimately fail too. That happened in the last century. But before they failed, they took down tens of millions with them and a third of our own people. That will never happen again.

Clarity and courage, alliances as broad as we can make them with those who understand that we’re in a common battle, and courage to see this through, to roll back an ultimate victory. I’m confident that militant Islam will perish, but we must not allow anyone to perish with it before it goes down. That’s our task.

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 31, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting about ending the Gaza War

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 8-31-14

יום ראשון ה’ אלול תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting this morning (Sunday, 31 August 2014):

“First, I would like to commend our host, Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Chairman Yair Farjun and the mayors and regional council chairmen, our friends from the south. It was your leadership and patience that gave us much strength to lead this campaign with responsibility, sagacity and great determination, as well as with considerable vigor, in order to restore security to Israel’s citizens. This was, and remains, our supreme concern.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, our hand has been extended in peace to those of our neighbors who want peace, and we have always fought vigorously, and with strength, against those who wish to destroy us, while building up our state, our cities and our communities – this is what we have done this time as well. We struck Hamas very hard. The IDF and the ISA killed almost 1,000 terrorists, struck at the heads of the organizations, and struck at their network of tunnels and their terrorist high-rises. We foiled their rocket attacks, and their aggression from land, sea and air. We hit their command centers and delivered blows that Hamas has not experienced since it was founded. At the same time, Hamas withdrew from all of its demands for a ceasefire, with neither time constraints nor other conditions.

I hope that the quiet that has been restored will last for a long time. But we are ready for any scenario both in this sector and in others including – of course – the Golan Heights. We will continue in keeping with our Zionist heritage, to develop our communities and our cities. I use the word develop, not just rebuild, because we have already started to do that.

We will make three decisions. Our first decision will be to assist – with a NIS 1.5 billion five-year plan – Sderot and the communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The intention is not only to rehabilitate agriculture and repair damage which has been done but also to assist industrial, economic and agricultural development, and of course the construction of additional security infrastructures. This is the first commitment and it will be realized today.

The second thing is that this month we will submit a similar package for the development of the cities and communities of the south. We are committed to them, we have always been committed to them. In recent years there has been accelerated development in the south; we want to strengthen it. The Zionist answer to those who seek our lives is not only to rebuff them and overcome them in any campaign but also to develop our state, in this case the communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and in the south, and to develop the Negev as a whole.

The third thing that we will do today is to fill in the gaps. We will start to fill in the gaps that have been created in security. This reflects our understanding about the order of priorities in security is first and foremost. We have done very great things here but this requires us to make a redoubled effort to allow the IDF, ISA and the security arms to continue to efficiently protect the State of Israel.

In the end, we share Education Minister Shai Piron’s view regarding tomorrow’s opening of the school year as scheduled throughout the country. I know that Israel’s children, two million Israeli children and their families, who will be going to kindergarten and school tomorrow, have endured a summer that was not simple, and I know that there is also great excitement and anticipation ahead of the opening of the school year. On behalf of the ministers, I would like to wish all of the children, especially those entering first grade, that they should all have a good, successful and safe year.”

Israel Political Brief August 31, 2014: Israel moves to appropriate West Bank land

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel moves to appropriate West Bank land

Source: JTA, 8-31-14

The Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration announced that it would appropriate nearly 1,000 acres in the Gush Etzion bloc and convert it in to state land…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 27, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu sums up Operation Protective Edge

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu sums up Operation Protective Edge

Source: MFA, 8-27-14

MFASummaryNew

There is a realignment of forces in the Middle East based on the common concern with the dangers posed by radical Islamic terrorists. I’d like to see if we can translate this understanding of our common challenges into cooperation and the achievement of peace between Israel and our Palestinian neighbors.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 27 August 2014), at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, issued the following statement:

Upon the establishment of the ceasefire, I can say that there is a major military achievement here, as well as a major diplomatic achievement for the State of Israel. Hamas was hit hard and it did not receive even a single one of the conditions that it set for a ceasefire, not even one. As Prime Minister of Israel, I hold the supreme responsibility for the security of Israel’s citizens and this is what guided my colleagues – Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz – and I during each stage of Operation Protective Edge. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the cooperation and the joint work for the security of Israel’s citizens.

From the first moment we set a clear goal: The goal was to strike hard at Hamas and the terrorist organizations and in so doing bring prolonged quiet to all Israeli citizens. I can say that Hamas was indeed hit very hard. First of all, we destroyed the network of attack tunnels that it built over the years. I would like to make it clear that we introduced the ground force for this goal. When the mission was completed, when the IDF reported to us that this mission had been completed, we pulled the force back in order to deny Hamas the possibility of killing our soldiers or abducting them, goals that it very much aspired to.

We continued to attack from the air. Approximately 1,000 terrorists were killed, including senior terrorists, very senior terrorists from among its top command. We destroyed thousands of rockets, rocket launchers, rocket production facilities and other weapons, arsenals, command and control positions, hundreds of command positions, hundreds. We also foiled, of course, attempts by Hamas to attack us by land, sea and air. Above all, thanks to Iron Dome, we foiled hundreds of attempts by Hamas to kill very many Israeli civilians. This was achieved, inter alia, thanks to a decision I made as Prime Minister, in my previous term, to equip the State of Israel with thousands of interceptors which, of course, blocked the murderous aerial assault by Hamas and the other terrorist organizations.

The blow that Hamas has now taken is unprecedented since it was founded, a very hard blow. I must say that it also took a diplomatic hit. See, Hamas set conditions at the outset for a ceasefire. We accepted the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire, already in the first days, unconditionally and without time constraints whereas Hamas set conditions. It demanded a seaport – it did not get one. It demanded an airport, it did not get one. It demanded the release of the Shalit prisoners, those who were released in the Shalit deal whom we returned to prison following the murder of the three youths, it did not get this. It demanded Qatari mediation, it did not get it. It demanded Turkish mediation, it did not get it. It did not receive any condition. It demanded further conditions. It demanded the rehabilitation of the institutions that we dissolved in Judea and Samaria, it did not get this. It demanded salaries and money from us, it didn’t get them. It did not receive any of the conditions that it set.

We agreed at the outset to one thing – to carry out the humanitarian rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, with supervisory mechanisms and oversight abilities in our hands. This is in order to prevent the entry of weapons or materials that could be used to produce weapons. We have always agreed to this but we did not agree to accept any of Hamas’s conditions and the fact is that this ceasefire was achieved without the conditions that it set.

Moreover, I think that Hamas is also isolated diplomatically. We received international legitimacy from the global community. First of all, we received 50 days for very strong action against the terrorist organizations. This was substantial. I think that we also instilled in the international community the fact that Hamas, ISIS and Al Qaida and other extremist Islamic terrorist organizations are members of the same family. We also instilled the understanding that the long-term goal is the demilitarization of Hamas and the terrorist organizations, the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.

All of these are important achievements alongside the realignment of regional forces in the Middle East. The regional change of moderate forces in the Middle East is creating a possible diplomatic horizon for the State of Israel. I think that it contains within it new possibilities for our country. We will certainly try to advance these possibilities in a responsible and prudent manner as we have done up until now.

Will we achieve our goal for prolonged calm? I think it is still too early to say but I can say that the harsh blow that Hamas and the terrorist organizations have taken, as well as our ability, via border controls, to prevent their rearming increase the chances that this goal will be achieved.

I can say that Hamas was surprised by two major things. One, in recent days it was surprised by the strength of our response to the violation of the most recent ceasefire. It thought that we would give in in the end to its conditions – and we did not give in. It thought that it could wear us down. You remember that I told it that it would not wear us down but would instead be hit very hard. I would like to take this opportunity to say that if it resumes firing, we will not tolerate sporadic firing at any part of the State of Israel and how we have responded up until now – we will respond with even greater strength. We are prepared for any possibility.

The second thing that surprised Hamas, Israeli citizens, is your splendid unity. I must say that it simply did not correctly appreciate the unity and strength of the people, and it is a splendid unity. It is the unity of civilian volunteers who helped the heroic IDF soldiers by sending packages, going to every point in person, of the rescue and voluntary organizations such as Magen David Adom and the other organizations, of the kibbutz movement that hosted residents of the south, of the local council heads who also volunteered to do this, and of ordinary citizens who went from place to place including hospitals to help our wounded heroic soldiers.

Our marvelous soldiers – during our visit to an air force base today, the Defense Minister, the Chief-of-Staff and I, I told air force personnel – air and ground crews – what I say to all IDF soldiers: The entire nation owes you its deep gratitude. Your stepping up, your heroism and your dedication, all of these were decisive in the campaign and made major contributions to our present diplomatic and military achievements.

One soldier told me, on one of my visits to the south, would that this unity which gives us so much strength as we go to fight the enemy, would that this unity could continue even after the fighting is over. And I say would that it could, amen, because this is a basic part of our national resilience.

And on behalf of all of you, on behalf of this unity, I would like to send my best wishes for a quick and complete recovery to our wounded soldiers. I visited them, not all of them, but as many as I could, and I was impressed by their strength of spirit. I was impressed by the public’s and their families’ great love for them. Everyone of them is dear to me just as every one of our fallen soldiers is dear to me. And their families, I know their loss and the depth of their pain and sorrow, to the families this evening I say the words that we read a few weeks ago in the haftarah  [from the prophet Isaiah (40:1)], ‘Comfort you, comfort you, My people.’ And comfort may be taken in the strong and united nation that stands here on it land, the Land of Israel, and which is determined to defend our state, the State of Israel, with your support, with your splendid unity. We acted just as we promised all through the operation – with level-headedness and responsibility, with foresight broad enough to ensure your security, citizens of Israel.

Following is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response, in English, to a question from the press:

Question: “If you could just elaborate on the diplomatic horizon for peace that you have mentioned earlier and within that vision, there the potential for the resumption of peace talks?”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I think that there is a realignment of forces in the Middle East. Everybody can see that. The realignment is based on the common concern with the dangers posed by radical Islamic terrorists who are sweeping the region with a ring of fire. And many understand that this is a danger to them. As we understand, it’s a danger to us. And many certainly begin to view Israel less than the full, or an enemy than a potential ally in this common battle.

What I’d like to explore is to see if we can translate this understanding of our common challenges into cooperation in common opportunities, and yes including the pursuit and development and achievement of a peace between Israel and our Palestinian neighbors. This obviously cannot happen with the likes of Hamas, who are committed to our destruction. Everybody says you make peace with an enemy. That’s true. But you make peace only with an enemy who decides to go to peace. That’s the most important and fundamental distinction. An enemy who wants to destroy you is not a candidate for peace. An enemy who says I want to put down, I want to end the hostilities, I want to take a new beginning, make a new start, give a new future for our children and our grandchildren, well that’s somebody that we can make peace with. And I hope that we’ll achieve this.”

PM Netanyahu, DM Yaalon and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz at press conference
  PM Netanyahu, DM Yaalon and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz at press conference
  Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

Excerpt from statement by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon:

“Hamas and the other terrorist organizations were dealt a heavy blow during the last 50 days. More than a thousand terrorists were killed, including senior members of the military wing. Terrorist infrastructures were destroyed. We attacked and destroyed weapons, launchers, rockets, homes of commanders, and command and control centers. We struck at the terrorists capabilities, including terrorist tunnels prepared over the course of years. We set Hamas and other terrorist organizations back many years.

Gaza does not look like it looked on the eve of the operation, and it is no surprise that the discourse in Gaza, and within Hamas, is one of anger and frustration. We are talking about a at least ten years of restoration and rehabilitation. When the dust clears over the Gaza Strip, Hamas leaders will have to answer quite a few tough questions following the hard, unprecedented blow inflicted upon them by Israel.

I would like to emphasize, citizens of Israel – do not be impressed by the bragging of Hamas leaders, voiced just after leaving their underground bunkers, their hiding places within civilian structures – hospitals, schools and clinics – surrounded by civilians – women and children – whom they used as human shields.”

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