Obama Lays Wreath at Warsaw Memorial

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: JTA, 5-31-11

President Obama participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in Poland’s capital city.obama warsaw ghetto

Obama was joined at the May 27 wreath-laying ceremony by members of the local Jewish community and Holocaust survivors. In the 1943 uprising, lightly armed Jewish fighters battled German forces trying to liquidate the ghetto for nearly a month.

Politico reported that a woman attending the ceremony raised the issue of Israel with Obama, telling him, “It’s the only Jewish state we have, and we trust you,” to which the president responded, “I will always be there for Israel,” an exchange picked up by a microphone.

Obama visited the ghetto uprising memorial an hour after arriving in Warsaw and shortly after participating in a wreath laying at Poland’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. His two-day visit to Poland marked the final stop on his European tour.

John Baird: Shun Gaza flotilla participation, Canadian foreign minister urges

Source: JTA, 5-30-11

Canada’s foreign minister has “strongly” urged against Canadian involvement in an international aid flotilla slated to leave for the Gaza Strip in late June.

John Baird called the planned aid flotilla “provocative and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza.”

“I strongly urge those wishing to deliver humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip to do so through established channels,” Baird said in a statement issued May 28.

Baird’s warning comes amid reports that an umbrella group representing about 100 Canadian organizations says it is planning to send a Canadian boat,  named the Tahrir, to the Gaza Strip as part of the second international Freedom Flotilla.

The foreign minister’s words come nearly a year after Israeli Navy commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of an international aid flotilla bound for Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists and drawing worldwide condemnation.

This time, the flotilla is to comprise some 15 ships from several countries.

Baird said Canada “recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its right to protect itself and its residents from attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by preventing the smuggling of weapons.”

A more “legitimate and constructive” way to help the people of Gaza, he suggested, is to donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent.

Baird added that “Canada continues to call for the immediate return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas for almost five years, to his family in Israel.”

Israeli PM Netanyahu asked Canada PM Harper to thwart G8 support for 1967 borders

G8 statement would have supported Obama’s policy that Israeli-Palestinian talks should be based on 1967 lines with land swaps.

Source: Haaretz, 5-29-11

At the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper thwarted an announcement Friday by the G-8 countries that would have supported U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement that talks between the Palestinians and Israel should be based on the 1967 borders with exchanges of territory.

The G-8 countries – the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada – met in France on Thursday and Friday to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

canada Prime Minister Netanyahu & Canadian Prime Minister Harper
Photo by: Reuters

Obama presented his Middle East policy to the G-8 as an alternative to a unilateral Palestinian move to seek support for statehood in the United Nations General Assembly in September, and to clarify to the Palestinians that the international community takes a dim view of the Palestinians’ move to win statehood in the United Nations.

According to a senior government official in Jerusalem, Israel was concerned over the implications of a specific mention of support for Obama’s call for negotiations based on the 1967 borders and exchanges of territory, so the prime minister’s bureau and the Foreign Ministry began working on the matter as early as the middle of last week.

The Foreign Ministry instructed its envoys in the various capitals to ask that the G-8’s concluding statement emphasize three things: that a Palestinian state will arise only through direct negotiations, not through a unilateral move in the United Nations; opposition to Hamas-Fatah reconciliation as long as Hamas rejects the Quartet’s conditions; and opposition to a mention of the issue of 1967 borders and exchanges of territory. However, there was concern over whether inclusion of the latter issue could be prevented, the official said, because at least seven out of the eight G-8 countries supported including it.

Tuesday, after Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, he telephoned Harper, who heads a rightist government under whose leadership Canada has become one of Israel’s greatest allies.

The senior government official said Netanyahu told Harper that mentioning the issue of the 1967 borders in the statement, without mentioning the other issues, such as Israel as a Jewish state or opposition to the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, will be detrimental to Israeli interests and a reward to the Palestinians.

“The prime minister is in constant contact with various leaders in moving ahead the diplomatic process,” Netanyahu’s bureau said.

Since a decision on the statement requires consensus, Canada’s efforts led to a release of the statement without reference to the 1967 borders.

The statement released expressed general support for the Obama speech, but called for the establishment of a Palestinian state through negotiations, not unilaterally, and for Hamas to accept the Quartet’s conditions.

Harper said Friday that he thought the statement issued was “balanced.” He also said it was important not to “cherry-pick” Obama’s statement. “I think if you’re going to get into other elements, obviously I would like to see reference to elements that were also in President Obama’s speech. Such as, for instance, the fact that one of the states must be a Jewish state. The fact that the Palestinian state must be de-militarized.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke over the weekend with Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird, and thanked him for Canada’s position during the G-8 deliberations. “Canada is a true friend of Israel and with a realistic and proper view of things, it understands that the 1967 borders do not conform to Israel’s security needs and with the current demographic reality,” Lieberman said.

 

G8 Summit Statement on Israel

G8 DECLARATION
RENEWED COMMITMENT FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY

G8 Summit of Deauville – May 26-27, 2011
PREAMBLE

1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met in Deauville on 26 and 27 May 2011. In this period of change, we reaffirmed our profound commitment to the values of freedom and democracy, and their universality.

2. In light of the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, we renewed our commitment to support democratic reform around the world and to respond to the aspirations for freedom, including freedom of religion, and empowerment, particularly for women and youth. Democracy lays the best path to peace, stability, prosperity, shared growth and development. We met with the Prime Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia, and decided to launch an enduring partnership with those countries engaging in a transition to democracy and tolerant societies. Our common goal is to develop the rule of law and citizen engagement as well as foster economic and social reforms to meet the aspirations of the people. We have adopted a declaration on the Arab spring.

3. In Deauville, we have renewed a strong partnership with Africa, building on commitments made for over a decade. We have emphasized our mutual responsibilities and decided to be even more accountable regarding our respective commitments to development, peace and security. We reaffirmed our commitment to transparency and governance — critical drivers of progress. We welcomed the new dynamism of our African partners and the spread of democracy, and committed to stand even more strongly side-by-side with the people of the African continent. We welcomed the democratically elected Presidents of Côte-d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger. For the first time, we have adopted a joint declaration together with African Leaders.

4. In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, we expressed our heartfelt sympathy for the victims and solidarity with the people and government of Japan, and paid tribute to the courage and dignity which they have shown in the face of the disaster. We are fully confident in the ability of the Japanese authorities to respond to the challenge and build a speedy and lasting recovery, and we stand ready to assist as needed.

5. We discussed new issues such as the Internet which are essential to our societies, economies and growth. For citizens, the Internet is a unique information and education tool, and thus helps to promote freedom, democracy and human rights. The Internet facilitates new forms of business and promotes efficiency, competitiveness, and economic growth. Governments, the private sector, users, and other stakeholders all have a role to play in creating an environment in which the Internet can flourish in a balanced manner. In Deauville in 2011, for the first time at Leaders’ level, we agreed, in the presence of some leaders of the Internet economy, on a number of key principles, including freedom, respect for privacy and intellectual property, multi-stakeholder governance, cyber-security, and protection from crime, that underpin a strong and flourishing Internet. The “e-G8” event held in Paris on 24 and 25 May was a useful contribution to these debates.

6. Our advanced and closely integrated economies face common challenges and opportunities. Recovery is strengthening. Our priority remains to promote job creations for our citizens. We pledged to continue our efforts to generate strong, sustainable, and balanced growth and will work with our partners in the G20 to this end.

7. New growth drivers are required. We committed to prioritizing growth-enhancing policies such as research, education and innovation, which are crucial to our knowledge economies. We will foster green growth as it is essential to fight global warming, represents a promising source of jobs for our societies, and reflects a shared aspiration for more sustainable development.

8. Building on our experience, we marked our determination to draw all the lessons from the nuclear accident in Japan, including the necessity to promote the highest levels of safety, consistent with the principles of the Convention on Nuclear Safety. We noted the necessity to consider strengthening the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, as well as upgrading norms and standards of nuclear safety. Meanwhile, we noted with great satisfaction that this year, which marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, the international community was able to pledge substantial financial resources for the completion of the international effort to convert the Chernobyl site into a stable and environmentally safe condition.

9. We will continue to act in support of peace and international security.

10. We demand the immediate cessation of the use of force against civilians by the Libyan regime forces and support a political solution that reflects the will of the Libyan people. We call on the Syrian leadership to stop using force and intimidation against the Syrian people and to engage in dialogue and fundamental reforms in response to the legitimate expression of the demands of the Syrian people. We are convinced that the historic changes throughout the region make the solution of the Israeli-Palestine conflict through negotiations more important, not less. We urge both parties to engage without delay in substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues.

11. We renew our commitment to implement all our obligations under the NPT and to support and promote the global non-proliferation architecture in all its aspects. We are committed to stemming the severe proliferation challenges, particularly in Iran and DPRK, which represent a threat to global stability. We ask our experts to explore ways of ensuring fair and responsible access to the benefits of the peaceful uses of technologies. We will consolidate progress in the fight against violent extremism, international terrorism and drug trafficking and will continue our common efforts to tackle these scourges. We renew our commitment in favour of a stable, peaceful and sovereign Afghanistan and of stability and cooperation throughout the region.

12. We will meet next year under the presidency of the United States of America.

 
* * *

 

I. SOLIDARITY WITH JAPAN

1. On 11 March, an earthquake and tsunami of unprecedented magnitude struck Japan, taking more than fifteen thousand lives and causing massive destruction and disruption including at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. More than a hundred thousand people still remain displaced and living in temporary evacuation shelters. We expressed to the Prime Minister of Japan our condolences for the victims of this tragedy and our most heartfelt sympathy for their families and the people affected by the disaster. The courage and dignity shown by the people of Japan stirred admiration and respect in our people. The support and solidarity extended by people around the world in turn brought warmth, strength and hope to the people of Japan. The Prime Minister of Japan expressed his deep gratitude for the generous support and friendship extended by G8 members and by the entire international community. He expressed his firm determination to overcome the challenges including the nuclear accident and remain fully engaged with and committed to contributing to the rest of the world.

2. We also expressed our confidence in the resilience of the Japanese economy and our readiness to continue to provide assistance and cooperation. The Prime Minister of Japan explained that his country would make every effort to minimize the uncertainty that the disaster might add to the global economy, including as a result of the nuclear accident. In particular, he committed to provide all relevant information regarding the nuclear emergency in a timely manner, and he ensured that products exported from Japan are safe. We stressed that measures on goods and travel should be based on scientific evidence.

3. We are fully confident in the ability of Japan to swiftly recover from this crisis and come back stronger, and we are determined to draw all necessary lessons from this calamity, including the necessity to promote the highest levels of nuclear safety worldwide.
II. INTERNET

4. All over the world, the Internet has become essential to our societies, economies and their growth.

5. For citizens, the Internet is a unique information and education resource and thus can be a helpful tool to promote freedom, democracy and human rights.

6. For business, the Internet has become an essential and irreplaceable tool for the conduct of commerce and development of relations with consumers. The Internet is a driver of innovation, improves efficiency, and thus contributes to growth and employment.

7. For governments, the Internet is a tool for a more efficient administration, for the provision of services to the public and businesses, and for enhancing their relations with citizens and ensuring respect for and promotion of human rights.

8. The Internet has become a major driver for the global economy, its growth and innovation.

9. The openness, transparency and freedom of the Internet have been key to its development and success. These principles, together with those of non-discrimination and fair competition, must continue to be an essential force behind its development.

10. Their implementation must be included in a broader framework: that of respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, the protection of intellectual property rights, which inspire life in every democratic society for the benefit of all citizens. We strongly believe that freedom and security, transparency and respect for confidentiality, as well as the exercise of individual rights and responsibility have to be achieved simultaneously. Both the framework and principles must receive the same protection, with the same guarantees, on the Internet as everywhere else.

11. The Internet has become the public arena for our time, a lever of economic development and an instrument for political liberty and emancipation. Freedom of opinion, expression, information, assembly and association must be safeguarded on the Internet as elsewhere. Arbitrary or indiscriminate censorship or restrictions on access to the Internet are inconsistent with States’ international obligations and are clearly unacceptable. Furthermore, they impede economic and social growth.

12. The Internet and its future development, fostered by private sector initiatives and investments, require a favourable, transparent, stable and predictable environment, based on the framework and principles referred to above. In this respect, action from all governments is needed through national policies, but also through the promotion of international cooperation.

13. We commit to encourage the use of the Internet as a tool to advance human rights and democratic participation throughout the world.

14. The global digital economy has served as a powerful economic driver and engine of growth and innovation. Broadband Internet access is an essential infrastructure for participation in today’s economy. In order for our countries to benefit fully from the digital economy, we need to seize emerging opportunities, such as cloud computing, social networking and citizen publications, which are driving innovation and enabling growth in our societies. As we adopt more innovative Internet-based services, we face challenges in promoting interoperability and convergence among our public policies on issues such as the protection of personal data, net neutrality, transborder data flow, ICT security, and intellectual property.

15. With regard to the protection of intellectual property, in particular copyright, trademarks, trade secrets and patents, we recognize the need to have national laws and frameworks for improved enforcement. We are thus renewing our commitment to ensuring effective action against violations of intellectual property rights in the digital arena, including action that addresses present and future infringements. We recognize that the effective implementation of intellectual property rules requires suitable international cooperation of relevant stakeholders, including with the private sector. We are committed to identifying ways of facilitating greater access and openness to knowledge, education and culture, including by encouraging continued innovation in legal on line trade in goods and content, that are respectful of intellectual property rights.

16. The effective protection of personal data and individual privacy on the Internet is essential to earn users’ trust. It is a matter for all stakeholders: the users who need to be better aware of their responsibility when placing personal data on the Internet, the service providers who store and process this data, and governments and regulators who must ensure the effectiveness of this protection. We encourage the development of common approaches taking into account national legal frameworks, based on fundamental rights and that protect personal data, whilst allowing the legal transfer of data.

17. The security of networks and services on the Internet is a multi-stakeholder issue. It requires coordination between governments, regional and international organizations, the private sector, civil society and the G8’s own work in the Roma-Lyon group, to prevent, deter and punish the use of ICTs for terrorist and criminal purposes. Special attention must be paid to all forms of attacks against the integrity of infrastructure, networks and services, including attacks caused by the proliferation of malware and the activities of botnets through the Internet. In this regard, we recognize that promoting users’ awareness is of crucial importance and that enhanced international cooperation is needed in order to protect critical resources, ICTs and other related infrastructure. The fact that the Internet can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of peace and security, and may adversely affect the integrity of critical systems, remains a matter of concern. Governments have a role to play, informed by a full range of stakeholders, in helping to develop norms of behaviour and common approaches in the use of cyberspace. On all these issues, we are determined to provide the appropriate follow-up in all relevant fora.

18. We call upon all stakeholders to combat the use of Internet for trafficking in children and for their sexual exploitation. We will also work towards developing an environment in which children can safely use the Internet by improving children’s Internet literacy including risk awareness, and encouraging adequate parental controls consistent with the freedom of expression.

19. We recognize the importance of enhanced access to the Internet for developing countries. Important progress has been achieved since the Okinawa Summit and we pay tribute to the efforts made by developing countries in this regard as well as the various stakeholders, governments, the private sector and NGOs, which provide resources, expertise and innovation. We encourage initiatives, in partnership with the private sector, on the use of the Internet with a development purpose, particularly for education and healthcare.

20. As we support the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, we call upon all stakeholders to contribute to enhanced cooperation within and between all international fora dealing with the governance of the Internet. In this regard, flexibility and transparency have to be maintained in order to adapt to the fast pace of technological and business developments and uses. Governments have a key role to play in this model.

21. We welcome the meeting of the e-G8 Forum which took place in Paris on 24 and 25 May, on the eve of our Summit and reaffirm our commitment to the kinds of multi-stakeholder efforts that have been essential to the evolution of the Internet economy to date. The innovative format of the e-G8 Forum allowed participation of a number of stakeholders of the Internet in a discussion on fundamental goals and issues for citizens, business, and governments. Its free and fruitful debate is a contribution for all relevant fora on current and future challenges.

22. We look forward to the forthcoming opportunities to strengthen international cooperation in all these areas, including the Internet Governance Forum scheduled next September in Nairobi and other relevant UN events, the OECD High Level Meeting on “The Internet Economy: Generating Innovation and Growth” scheduled next June in Paris, the London International Cyber Conference scheduled next November, and the Avignon Conference on Copyright scheduled next November, as positive steps in taking this important issue forward.
III. GLOBAL ECONOMY

23. The global recovery is gaining strength and is becoming more self-sustained. However, downside risks remain, and internal and external imbalances are still a concern. The sharp increase in commodity prices and their excessive volatility pose a significant headwind to the recovery. In this context, we agreed to remain focused on the action required to enhance the sustainability of public finances, to strengthen the recovery and foster employment, to reduce risks and ensure strong, sustainable and balanced growth, including through structural reforms.

Europe has adopted a broad package of measures to deal with the sovereign debt crisis faced by a few countries, and it will continue to address the situation with determination and to pursue rigorous fiscal consolidation alongside structural reforms to support growth. The United States will put in place a clear and credible medium-term fiscal consolidation framework, consistent with considerations of job creation and economic growth. In Japan, while providing resources for the reconstruction after the disaster, the authorities will also address the issue of sustainability of public finances.

We are determined to take the necessary actions collectively and individually to face current challenges. We will also ensure that our macroeconomic policies promote sound economic growth, aiming, together with our employment and social policies, at reducing unemployment and enabling a quick re-entry into the labour market.

24. We expressed our commitment to the ongoing processes in the G20 to expand policy dialogue and cooperation, particularly on our agenda for financial sector reform, mitigating commodity prices volatility, the strengthening of the international monetary system and the in-depth assessments of the causes of persistently large external imbalances and the full range of policies to foster strong, sustainable and balanced growth under the Mutual Assessment Process.

TRADE

25. As part of its continued efforts to support the recovery of the global economy, the G8 reaffirms its longstanding commitment to free and open markets. The WTO plays a critical role in preventing protectionism and constitutes a fundamental part of the global multilateral system. In this regard, G8 members of the WTO note with great concern the unsatisfactory progress in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations. We reiterate our commitment to advance the process of trade liberalization and rule-making to strengthen the multilateral system, and are ready to explore all negotiating options to bring the Doha round to a conclusion including with regard to the priorities of least developed countries (LDCs) in line with the Doha mandate. Russia’s partners in the G8 welcome the considerable progress made by Russia to complete its accession to WTO, and reaffirm their commitments to working closely with Russia, with the intention to finalise this process in 2011.

INNOVATION AND KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

26. Innovation is crucial for growth, prosperity and jobs in the knowledge economy and plays a central role in addressing many of the key global challenges of our times, ranging from climate change, poverty eradication and public health, to demographic changes and recovery from the recent global economic and financial crisis through employment-generation. We acknowledge that the nature, source and speed of innovation and the method and extent to which it drives growth have changed at a greater pace in the past decades than ever in our history. It has moved from closed to open innovation, and its geographical source has broadened. In meeting future global challenges, innovation, green growth and the Internet will all be crucial and their effective development will help support future economic growth. These changes call for focused policy consideration, notably in the private sector, building on previous work by the G8.

27. Drawing on experiences across countries, we underline that a holistic approach to innovation and growth is needed, which would include both technological and non-technological innovation as well as innovation in social and public services. This requires the broad engagement of our societies and the elaboration of a framework of principles and best practices, guiding collective action towards shared goals, such as market integration and limiting market barriers, while reducing potential frictions resulting from national approaches. We look forward to the results of the work at the OECD on collecting good practices on policy from around the world. In order to enhance policy efficiency and effectiveness, we also invite the OECD to develop in a fully inclusive, open and accountable way in cooperation with relevant international organizations measurements of innovation performance, focussing on concrete impacts on growth and jobs rather than inputs and investigating the systemic relationship between indicators. All G8 countries will participate.

28. We stress the importance of cooperation between various actors, both public and private, large and small; and we strongly believe that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) represent an important leverage point to spread innovation in a sustainable innovation eco-system. We commit to prioritize growth-enhancing policies such as research, education and innovation. We invite the OECD in cooperation with other relevant international institutions to develop a comprehensive analysis on how SME integration into global value chains can be facilitated with a special focus on incentives for private funding including on cross-border venture capital markets for technology transfer and start-up phase, and identifying impediments to their growth.

29. We agree on the necessity of a level playing field in the innovation area, including a strong and robust intellectual property system as an incentive to innovation and a catalyst for growth. We acknowledge the important role of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in developing a broad approach to intellectual property in support of business friendly, robust and efficient national intellectual property systems. Renewing our support to the principles of the patent system, we attach great importance to its promotion and development. We encourage increased international action to strengthen patent quality, and call for improved diffusion of patent information, particularly critical for SMEs and research centres. We support transparency in technology markets and call for the improvement of market places for trading rights. We invite WIPO, in close cooperation with Member States and other relevant entities, to intensify its work in these three areas. In addition we note the importance of enforcement in order to incentivise innovation and protect innovation once developed.

30. We highlight the importance of international cooperation in research, leveraging resources and talents to find solutions to common challenges. We welcome the ongoing work of the OECD for improving global research cooperation and look forward to its recommendations.

GREEN GROWTH

31. We firmly believe that green growth is an essential element to ensuring sustainable global growth, notably to promote resource efficiency and sound water management, fight climate change and conserve biodiversity, and that it contributes to sustainable development. Green growth represents a promising source of job creation for our societies and offers significant prospects for innovators and exporters of all economies. Green growth dynamic needs to be shared: sustainable development is a reachable objective if efforts are made by all economies. We are committed to continuing to play a major role in this field. We will work within all relevant fora and agencies to promote green growth.

32. We look forward to the outcomes of the ongoing work of the OECD on a green growth strategy, following the Ministerial Council meeting of 25 and 26 May. We call for the implementation of ambitious and pragmatic policies by all stakeholders, which envisage different national circumstances and the broadest range of technologies. We call on the private sector to seek opportunities from green growth. We will further support strategies for green growth that mainstream adapted policy mixes at all economic and social levels, supporting both public and private initiatives.

33. To this end and with a view to encouraging long-term investment, we are deploying a broad set of policies including market-based, regulatory and voluntary measures, and promoting R&D for clean technologies and energy efficiency.

34. Recognising the importance of establishing green growth measurement schemes, we will work with relevant international fora, including the UNEP, the OECD and the IEA, to identify an appropriate set of possible indicators.

35. Since employment remains a central concern, we will support carefully designed labour market measures supportive of the creation of green jobs as well as of the greening of traditional jobs and of the development of skills policies, in order to facilitate the transition towards national and local sustained green activities.

36. We strongly support international cooperation on green growth and will intensify our efforts to contribute to progress for the next steps, notably looking toward the June 2012 UN Conference in Rio on sustainable development and various international events planned, including the Bonn Conference on Water, Energy and Food Security in November, the Durban Conference on Climate Change in December, the Marseille World Water Forum in March 2012 and the Conference on Biological Diversity in October 2012 in New Delhi. In this regard, we encourage UNEP and OECD efforts, and welcome complementary messages by these two organisations for the Rio+20 Conference.

37. We believe that it is also crucial to employ a range of measures to encourage efficient and sustainable resource use, including renewable energy, by national and other actors. We will keep on supporting international initiatives launched by the G8, notably the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), which has successfully been extended to other stakeholders, the IEA International Low Carbon Energy Technology Platform, the Global Bio Energy Partnership (GBEP), The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). We reaffirm our support to the Kobe 3R (“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”) Action Plan and welcome the OECD report on its implementation on resource productivity, and invite the OECD to continue to work on this issue.
IV. NUCLEAR SAFETY

38. The events in Japan underline the vital importance of nuclear safety which should be addressed as a top priority on the G8 agenda. We commended Japan’s sharing of relevant information and welcomed its presentation of Fukushima events.

39. We acknowledge that those countries having chosen to rely on nuclear energy already pay due attention to the safe operation of their nuclear installations. We recognise that countries may have different approaches regarding the use and contribution of nuclear energy to their energy mix, including the phasing-in or the phasing-out.

40. The events in Japan confirm that there is a continuing need to re-evaluate safety and we recognise the importance of learning from the Fukushima accident and its aftermath. We welcome the initiative taken by many countries to carry out comprehensive risk and safety assessments of their existing nuclear installations, and invite all other countries operating nuclear power plants to launch similar assessments as soon as possible. Such assessments should include accident prevention, emergency preparedness, crisis management and mitigation, and post-accident management. All together these measures will contribute to strengthen the safety infrastructure worldwide.

41. We urge countries to complete periodic review of safety assessments and to carry out assessments at every stage of a nuclear installation’s lifetime, building on experience, and we reaffirm the high priority that we place on safety in the siting and design of new reactors, and the necessity of continuous improvement, learning from incidents and accidents everywhere.

42. We underscore the importance of international cooperation on nuclear safety, including cooperation among governments, industry, research institutions and regulatory bodies. This cooperation will strengthen safety culture worldwide and improve transparency.

43. We recognise the important role of the IAEA for the enhancement of nuclear safety worldwide, and we encourage countries to make use of the relevant IAEA capabilities to help enhance the safety of their nuclear installations. We also urge countries that have not yet done so to ratify the relevant international conventions adopted under the auspices of the IAEA (Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, Convention on Nuclear Safety, Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management), which are crucial to the international safety regime.

44. Regarding the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the cornerstone of the international safety regime, we welcome the extraordinary meeting of contracting parties to take place in August 2012 to review measures that could strengthen the Convention, notably regarding safety objectives, the responsibility of governments for timely and sufficient measures on accident prevention and management, including the adjustment of procedures for coordination and interaction between the government, the operator and the safety authority, as well as an effective peer review mechanism.

45. We also recommend that countries embarking on or expanding nuclear programmes should establish the relevant infrastructure, with sufficient and qualified human resources, in accordance with IAEA recommendations. We also call on the IAEA to consider the relevant IAEA standards to identify issues that may warrant examination and revision in light of the Fukushima accident, and, in particular, to consider developing or improving additional standards for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in seismically hazardous areas, as well as in areas that might be otherwise exposed to other external events, taking into account their integrated impact.

46. We will also consider a possible strengthening of the other relevant conventions. Regarding the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, efficiency and substance of notifications on the nuclear accident should be further improved, and the Convention could be amended if necessary.

47. We are committed to promoting the highest levels of safety worldwide consistent with the principles of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, through strengthening of international cooperation on safety practices, crisis management, and transparency. Improvements in nuclear safety will gain from the work already being undertaken by safety authorities and operators in fora such as the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP), the Western European Nuclear Safety Regulators’ Association (WENRA), the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), as well as by the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC). We welcome the announcement made by the IAEA to convene an international ministerial conference on nuclear safety in Vienna on 20-24 June 2011. We also welcome the initiative of the Presidency to gather the regulatory bodies, as well as ministers, of interested countries, to examine ways to further improve nuclear safety worldwide through contributions to the 20-24 June conference. We expect that discussions to be held in the framework of the IAEA for promoting the highest levels of nuclear safety worldwide will bear a fruitful outcome. We ask the Nuclear Safety and Security Group to include these issues in their future work.

48. As we are now engaged in a renewed effort to strengthening nuclear safety worldwide, we must at the same time bring to a conclusion our past commitments, in this year which marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. We note with great satisfaction that the international community came together to bring closure to this legacy. Donors, together with the EBRD, were able to pledge substantial additional financial resources for the completion of the ongoing international effort to convert the Chernobyl site into a stable and environmentally safe condition, and we expect countries that have not yet pledged to do so rapidly. We call upon all parties involved in the Chernobyl projects to redouble efforts to implement them on schedule and within budget, and we urge the Ukrainian government to make the adequate institutional and financial provisions to ensure an efficient and successful implementation of the programme within budget.
V. CLIMATE CHANGE AND BIODIVERSITY

49. Tackling climate change is a global priority. We, members of the G8, have undertaken ambitious measures, and are committed to long-term efforts, with a view to doing our part to limit effectively the increase in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, consistent with science. We express our determination to act as part of a larger global effort to address this threat as well as our solidarity with developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.

50. We reaffirm our willingness to share with all countries the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050, recognising that this implies that global emissions need to peak as soon as possible and decline thereafter. We are cooperating to that end. As part of this effort, we also support a goal of developed countries reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80% or more by 2050, compared to 1990 or more recent years. Consistent with this ambitious long-term objective, we will undertake robust aggregate and individual mid-term reductions, taking into account that baselines may vary and that efforts need to be comparable. Similarly, major emerging economies need to undertake quantifiable actions to reduce emissions significantly below business-as-usual by a specified year.

51. We are determined to do our part to reach those objectives and move rapidly towards a low-carbon economy that will generate significant benefits for the protection of the environment and health, for energy savings and energy security, while also delivering job opportunities and growth.

52. We welcome the outcome of the Cancun Conference, which marked a successful effort of the international community building on the Copenhagen Accord. We welcome the positive spirit in which the Cancun Conference took place and progress made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We support the provisions adopted including those related to transparency, mitigation, finance (in particular the creation of the Green Climate Fund), adaptation, technology and the fight against deforestation and forest degradation — REDD+.

53. The Durban Conference at the end of the year (COP 17) will be another important step forward, for working towards a comprehensive, ambitious, fair, effective and binding agreement involving all countries, and including the respective responsibilities of all major economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need to operationalise the Cancun Agreements and deal with unresolved issues. We are determined to deliver on our commitments as listed in Copenhagen, and confirmed in Cancun, and call on all countries, including all major economies, to deliver on their listed commitments as well. We strongly support South Africa as the incoming Presidency of the Durban Conference and offer our cooperation to make this Conference the success that the world needs in order to successfully combat global climate change.

54. As with climate change, we recognize that the current rate of loss of biological diversity is unacceptable, since biologically diverse and resilient ecosystems are critical to human wellbeing, sustainable development and poverty eradication as well as food security. We are therefore committed to intensifying our efforts to slow the loss of biodiversity. We also recognise that ecosystems play a key role in the global carbon cycle, through carbon storage and adaptation to climate change.

55. In this context, the outcomes of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya are a significant step forward, in particular the adoption of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the decision on the Strategy for Resource Mobilisation and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). We welcome the study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), which was initiated by the G8 in 2007, the operationalisation of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and look forward to timely decisions regarding the Nagoya Protocol on ABS as soon as possible.
VI. ACCOUNTABILITY ON DEVELOPMENT

56. Development is a common challenge. While leadership by developing countries is a key condition for development, the responsibility for aid effectiveness is shared between donor and partner country. We fully support mutual accountability, with a strong focus on results. There is a need for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to aid effectiveness among all donors and stakeholders, including new donors, under the leadership of State and local authorities, in close partnership with civil society, and based on political will, evidence-based assessment and transparency. We welcome the accountability process undertaken by African partners.

57. We remain strongly committed to meeting our commitments and to tracking their implementation in a fully transparent and consistent manner. We endorse the Deauville Accountability Report: “G8 Commitments on Health and Food Security: State of Delivery and Results” which documents G8 action on health and food security, and mobilisation of financial resources including 85% of all commitments to the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, 78% of the overall resources of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, 44% of funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and $1.8 billion to the GAVI Alliance through direct contributions and innovative financing mechanisms. We will continue to improve the rigour of G8 accounting for progress in meeting its non-financial commitments and will follow-up on the report’s recommendations.

58. We welcome the outcome document on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) “Keeping the Promise” and we reaffirm the commitments that we have made during the High-level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs, stressing the importance of democratic governance as a central element for achieving these goals. While we recognise the magnitude of the challenges, the actions of both developing countries and donor partners have already contributed to positive results. We will continue to support developing countries to work towards achieving and sustaining the MDGs by 2015 and encourage all stakeholders to do the same, focusing on the protection and empowerment of individuals and communities to improve human security. In this context, we welcome the MDGs follow-up meeting to be held at ministerial level in Tokyo in June of this year as an opportunity to maintain political momentum towards the MDGs. We will redouble our efforts to promote transparency and accountability.

59. In 2005, the OECD estimated that official development assistance (ODA) from the G8 and other donors to developing countries would increase by around USD 50 billion by 2010 compared to 2004. There is a gap of USD 19 billion in constant dollars or USD 1.27 billion in current dollars, relative to OECD estimates for 2010. . Despite the worldwide economic crisis, the G8’s ODA increased from USD 82.55 to 89.25 billion in current dollars between 2009 and 2010. This represents 70% of global ODA, which reached USD 128.73 billion in 2010, representing a 7.27% increase in current dollars compared to 2009. While all commitments have not been met in full, we will strive to maintain our efforts, together with other donors. ODA is a significant element of financing for development, among other resources, particularly domestic resources, innovative financing, remittances, market instruments used by development banks and private sector flows.

60. The G8 has catalysed significant action on health and food security and we are ready to further work with other stakeholders. In this regard:

a. We will continue to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. We welcome the commitment of the Global Fund Board to implement a reform agenda to improve oversight, accountability and effectiveness in using its resources. Based on these reforms, traditional donors will be enabled to meet their respective pledges to the Global Fund. We encourage non-traditional donors and the private sector to provide resources to the Global Fund.

b. We reaffirm our commitment to improving maternal health and reducing child mortality, most notably through the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health launched in 2010. We are delivering our Muskoka commitments. We will continue to monitor their implementation in coordination with all partners, including stakeholders in the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. We support the recommendations of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health established by the WHO at the request of the UN Secretary General. We will implement them, and urge others to do so.

c. We recognise the impact of the GAVI Alliance and strongly welcome its efforts to expand access to new and under-used life-saving vaccines in the poorest countries including through tiered pricing and innovative mechanisms such as the International Finance Facility for Immunisation. We call for a successful completion of the first pledging conference of GAVI in June in London, involving all relevant actors. We also welcome the development of the Advanced Market Commitments and notably the pilot project on pneumococcal vaccines.

d. We stress our continuing commitment to the eradication of polio which is a reachable objective. Our past support has contributed to the 99% decrease of polio cases in the developing countries. We flag the need for a special focus on this issue and renewed momentum. To this end, we will continue to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

e. We will work, together with major bilateral donors, global health programmes and country coordination initiatives, to improve these funds’ implementation of aid effectiveness.

f. We welcome the Patent Pool Initiative launched by UNITAID in order to facilitate the production of affordable generic medicines well-adapted for use in resource-poor settings, and we encourage the voluntary participation of patent owners, private and public, in the project.

g. We encourage a strong and comprehensive multilateral and bilateral response to improve food security. Launched in 2009, the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to address the challenges of food insecurity. Since the L’Aquila Summit, 22% of the AFSI pledges have been disbursed, and an additional 26% are formally in the process of being disbursed for specific purposes. We will disburse or allocate our commitments in full by the end of our respective pledging periods. We reaffirm our support to country-led and regional processes and stress the need to improve coordination among development partners, ensuring a strong focus on results and impact, as well as bilateral support based on the value-chain approach to improve food security. We will intensify our efforts to foster sustainable agricultural production and productivity with an emphasis on smallholder’s farmers, including through public-private partnerships, and research and innovation.

61. In the perspective of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Busan, South Korea later this year, we welcome progress made in aid delivery since the endorsement of the Rome and Paris Declarations and the Accra Agenda for Action. We call for a review of the Aid Effectiveness Agenda in Busan which recognises the shift towards broader issues of development outcomes and impacts.

62. We will improve transparency of our aid information. In particular, we will make further efforts on publishing information on allocations, expenditure and results. Information will be provided in accessible formats that deliver on the needs of partner countries and citizens. In this respect, it is important that partner countries also improve transparency. We recognise that individual countries will proceed at their own pace but we will lead by example through increasing transparency in this area and work with others in advance of the Fourth High Level Forum in Korea in November 2011. We will continue to support transparency in other areas including through the full implementation of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), which we all support, We call on all countries, notably resource-rich countries, and extractive companies to join or support this initiative. We also welcome the complementary efforts to increase revenue transparency, and commit to setting in place transparency laws and regulations or to promoting voluntary standards that require or encourage oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to governments.

63. We will continue to work with the OECD and in other fora to foster accountability processes and call on all donors to engage in similar exercises.
VII. PEACE AND SECURITY

64. We demand the immediate cessation of the use of force against civilians by the Libyan regime forces as well as the cessation of all incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population. In that regard, we take note of actions undertaken by UN Member States to implement fully UNSCRs 1970 and 1973. We stress the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks on civilians. These criminal actions will not go unpunished. We welcome the work of the International Criminal Court in investigating crimes in Libya and note the Chief Prosecutor’s request on 16 May for three arrest warrants. Qadhafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go.

65. We are committed to supporting a political transition that reflects the will of the Libyan people. We recall our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya. We stress the central role of the Secretary-General’s Envoy to Libya, Mr Al-Khatib, in facilitating an inclusive and lasting political solution, based on the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and taking into account the role of regional organisations, the League of Arab States and the African Union. We recognise the initiatives undertaken by the members of the Contact Group on Libya. We welcome the Interim National Council’s “Road Map on Libya” as an important contribution to the transition process which has to be Libyan-led. We reiterate the central role of the UNSC in accordance with the UN Charter.

66. We are appalled by the deaths of many peaceful protesters as a result of the sweeping use of violence in Syria as well as by repeated and serious violations of human rights. We call on the Syrian leadership to immediately stop using force and intimidation against the Syrian people and to respond to their legitimate demands for freedom of expression and universal rights and aspirations. We also call for the release of all political prisoners in Syria. Only the path of dialogue and fundamental reforms will lead to democracy, and thus to long-term security and prosperity in Syria. Should the Syrian authorities not heed this call, we will consider further measures. We are convinced that only by implementing meaningful reforms will a democratic Syria be able to play a positive role in the region.

67. We are convinced that the historic changes throughout the region make the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through negotiations more important, not less. Aspirations of the peoples in the region need to be heeded including that of the Palestinians for a viable and sovereign State and that of Israelis for security and regional integration. The time to resume the Peace Process is now.

a. Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict. The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues. To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011.

b. We appreciate the efforts and the progress made by the Palestinian Authority and the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad as they are building a viable State as recently commended by the IMF, the World Bank and the ad hoc liaison Committee.

c. We look forward to the prospect of the second donors’ conference for Palestine in Paris, also in view of the resumption of negotiations.

d. We call on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to abide by existing co-operation agreements and to abstain from unilateral measures that could hamper progress and further reforms. We call for the easing of the situation in Gaza.

e. We demand the unconditional release of the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit without delay.

68. We are increasingly concerned about the situation in Yemen and the crisis which has shaken the country for too long. We condemn the use of violence in response to peaceful protest throughout Yemen. We commend the efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council and appreciate the constructive response from the opposition. We remain supportive of an inclusive process that should bring about political and social reform in Yemen and lead to a peaceful and orderly transition. We urge President Saleh to immediately follow through on his commitments and ensure that the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people are addressed.

69. We remain seriously concerned about the ongoing suppression of democratic rights in Iran, especially given that Iran has repeatedly professed support for freedom and democratic behaviour elsewhere in the region. At the same time, we deplore violence which has led to the loss of lives of Iranian civilians, and we deplore interference with media, unjustified detentions and arrests. We call on the Iranian authorities to stop repression against their people and respect their international commitments, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We also call on the Iranian authorities to lift restrictions on freedom of movement and communication of Iranian opposition leaders. Iran should play a constructive and responsible role in the region.

70. We reiterate our strong concern about severe proliferation challenges and the major threat they represent for international peace and security. We will spare no effort in fighting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. We reiterate our commitment to working to resolve them through diplomatic means. We recall our commitment to seeking a safer world for all and to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in a way that promotes international stability based on the principles of undiminished security for all.

71. We are determined to strengthen the global non-proliferation architecture by supporting all relevant multilateral treaties and arrangements and by promoting their implementation and universalization. In this respect, we are committed to maintaining and strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the NPT and its three pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including by taking the actions in the plan adopted by consensus at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. We also call upon all States still not Parties to the NPT, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) to accede without delay.

72. Iran’s persistent failure to comply with its obligations under six UNSC resolutions and to meet the requirements of ten IAEA Board of Governors resolutions is a cause of utmost concern. We note with deep concern the recent report by the IAEA which underlines that Iran is not implementing a number of its obligations, that areas of concern remain regarding possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme and that the Agency is therefore unable to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. We recognise Iran’s right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the NPT, but this right also comes with obligations that all States parties to the NPT, including Iran, have to respect. We regret that while Iran finally met twice with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union High Representative, following their intensive diplomatic efforts and the adoption of measures in UNSCR 1929, it was not possible to reach any substantive result, Iran having not yet entered into a genuine dialogue without preconditions. Depending on Iran’s actions, we will determine the need for additional measures in line with the dual-track approach.

73. We condemn the DPRK’s provocative behaviour with regard to the Armistice Agreement and numerous Inter-Korean agreements, its continued development of nuclear and missile programmes and its uranium enrichment programme and light water reactor construction activities in violation of UNSC Resolutions 1718 and 1874. We reiterate our commitment to implementing fully the UNSC Resolutions and call upon all UN Member States to do the same. We urge the DPRK to comply with its international obligations, including the complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment of all its nuclear programmes and ballistic missile programmes and promptly to address international humanitarian concerns, such as the issue of abduction. While taking note of relevant parties’ willingness to resolve problems through the Six Party Talks, we urge the DPRK to take concrete actions to create an environment conducive to the resumption of the Six Party Talks and express support for the current efforts by the Republic of Korea to this end.

74. We note with deep concern the lack of cooperation by Syria reflected in the most recent IAEA report. We urge Syria to fulfil its obligations and fully cooperate with the Agency and respond to the IAEA Director-General’s requests for access and information in order to clarify all outstanding issues. We look forward to the IAEA Board of Governors addressing the seriousness of the issue.

75. We express our grave concern at the continued proliferation of WMD delivery systems and at the acquisition of key technologies and development of certain ballistic missile programmes usable for weapons of mass destruction. In particular, the Iranian and DPRK’s programmes are a serious cause for concern. We recognise the need to step up our efforts to combat the threat of proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering WMD to international peace and security, including by promoting multilateral arrangements and instruments, such as the Hague Code Of Conduct and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

76. We fully support the paramount role played by the United Nations Security Council in addressing proliferation issues as well as the key role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in assuring the exclusively peaceful nature of nuclear activities. We call on all States that have yet to do so to sign and ratify a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement together with an Additional Protocol and to bring these agreements into force as their combination is meant to constitute the universally accepted international verification standard.

77. We welcome the ratification by the United States and the Russian Federation of the New START Treaty and its subsequent entry into force as significant progress on the disarmament agenda. We call on all States participating in the Conference on Disarmament to start substantive negotiations on a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT), building on the CD/1864 programme of work. We express our support for the moratorium on the production of such material announced by the G8 nuclear-weapon States and call on the other States concerned to follow suit. We will continue our efforts for the permanent and legally binding cessation of all nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosion through the swift entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and we call upon all States to join our efforts in this regard as well as to uphold the moratorium on testing pending the entry into force of the CTBT.

78. We welcome the concrete achievements and measurable results of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction launched in Kananaskis in 2002 for a 10-year period. We remain committed to completing priority projects in Russia. Our assessment of the Partnership recognises the significant progress the 23 Partners have achieved on the full range of WMD non-proliferation activities worldwide. The assessment also provides directions for the future. As such, we agree to extend the Partnership beyond 2012, based on the areas of focus enunciated at Muskoka (nuclear and radiological security, bio-security, scientist engagement, and facilitation of the implementation of UNSCR 1540). We will work with all Partners in discussing assistance needs and coordinating possible projects in the above-mentioned areas, and we will expand membership of the Partnership. Partners will decide on funding of such projects on a national, joint, or multilateral basis.

79. While proliferation must be fought, we ask our experts to explore ways of ensuring fair and responsible access to the benefits of the peaceful uses of technologies and to report back by the next Summit. We support the exchange, in conformity with the obligations of the NPT, of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in particular for developing countries. We will consider the enlargement of the suppliers’ groups to responsible stakeholders in a manner consistent with the groups’ procedures and objectives. We reiterate our commitment as in paragraph 8 of the L’Aquila Statement on Non-Proliferation.

80. We remain committed to holding a conference in 2012 on a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, as endorsed by the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, with a view to creating a peaceful environment in the region.

81. Fighting terrorism and addressing the conditions conducive to its spread remains one of our priorities. While the death of Usama Bin Laden represents a significant step in the fight against international terrorism, we remain concerned about the continuing threat from terrorist groups, as well as their increased presence in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and across the Sahel. We reiterate our absolute condemnation of terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations, including the upsurge in hostage-taking, and our commitment to work together to eradicate this threat in full compliance with international law. All acts of terrorism are criminal, inhumane, and unjustifiable irrespective of motivation. We express our deepest condolences for lives lost and disrupted by these senseless acts, and we reaffirm our strong commitment to help victims of terrorist acts, and support their powerful message against violence.

82. We emphasize a continued need to pay attention to global efforts to counter the phenomenon of radicalisation leading to violence and violent extremism in all of its manifestations. We recognise that such efforts to counter violent extremism are strengthened when states engage all relevant stakeholders. We also note the resilience and unity of communities and countries in the face of terrorism, which underscores the capacity of societies to absorb tragedy and emerge with renewed strength. We reaffirm that an effective counter-terrorism strategy must be based both on a comprehensive approach that includes security and development-oriented initiatives and on full respect for human rights, including the right to practice religious faith in safety and security, without fear of violence and repression, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. We take note of the status report prepared by the G8 Roma/Lyon group, detailing the measures undertaken to implement the priorities we set out in our Statement on Counter-Terrorism adopted last year during the Muskoka Summit. We welcome the prospect of further such reports.

83. We look forward to working with partners from all regions within the soon-to-be launched Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF). This Forum will be aimed at strengthening the international consensus in the fight against terrorism, creating new opportunities of cooperation and furthering the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We underscore the central role that the UN must continue to play in global counterterrorism efforts and commit to ensuring that effective UN tools, such as the 1267 al-Qaeda and Taliban sanction regime, remain relevant in the future.

84. We welcome the outcome of the Ministerial Meeting on Transatlantic Cocaine Trafficking held on 10 May. We endorse the Political Declaration and Action Plan adopted by the Ministers and aimed at strengthening international and regional cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking. Emphasizing the global nature of illicit drug trafficking, we also welcome the outcome of the Transatlantic Symposium on Dismantling transnational Illicit Networks and express our support to the incoming Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact.

85. We reaffirm our commitment to a stable, peaceful and sovereign Afghanistan, free of terrorism, extremist violence, and illicit drug production and trafficking, with full ownership of its own security, governance and development, based on the principle of non-intervention in Afghanistan internal affairs and mutual non-interference. We welcome the announcement by President Karzai of the first areas to begin the process of transition to Afghan-led security in the coming months. We will continue to support the transition process endorsed by Afghanistan and the international community at the London and Kabul Conferences as well as at the NATO Lisbon Summit.

86. We welcome the work of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its High Peace Council to take forward a political process of reconciliation and reintegration for Afghans who meet its end-state conditions of renouncing violence, breaking ties with al Qaeda and abiding by the Afghan Constitution, including its protection for all Afghan women and men. A political process, culminating in an inclusive and sustainable settlement is required. We support this process, which has to be Afghan-led.

87. We welcome the opportunity to address these issues and discuss long-term engagement of the international community in support of Afghanistan at the International Conference of Foreign Ministers to be held in Bonn on 5 December 2011.

88. We strongly condemn the attack against the United Nations office in Mazar-e-Sharif on 1 April, which resulted in the death of United Nations staff. We reaffirm our support for the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), conducted in partnership with the Afghan Government, for strengthening peace and democracy in the country.

89. We stress the importance of political and economic regional cooperation and developing the rule of law for stability, peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and the wider region. In this respect, we welcome the prospect of increased transborder cooperation on transport, including rail, as well as on water, energy and human resources.

90. We are committed to supporting Pakistan and re-emphasize the importance of Pakistan itself tackling its political, economic and social challenges by undertaking the urgently needed reforms supported by the international community. We acknowledge the crucial importance of education for the economic and social development of Pakistan. Our cooperation programmes will make getting more children into better schools a priority.

91. We express our deep concern regarding the recent rise of political tension and the culture of impunity in Zimbabwe. We call for the end of all forms of violence and intimidation. We encourage the SADC to continue their facilitation efforts on the basis of the Livingstone Communiqué of the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security of 31 March 2011 to assist Zimbabwe in completing the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). We encourage the SADC Facilitation to renew its efforts to assist Zimbabwe in completing the implementation of the GPA and to secure agreement and implementation by all parties to the GPA of a roadmap to organise free, peaceful and transparent elections within a new constitutional framework approved by referendum.

92. We welcome the work on strengthening capacity building for peace and security, in compliance with the Sea Island (2004) and subsequent commitments. We acknowledge the positive results achieved by the relevant training facilities in G8 Countries and recall that national ownership and mutual accountability are key elements for the success of these capacity-building actions, as well as the establishment of adequate training programmes close to the needs.

93. We stress the necessity to avoid duplications in our peacekeeping/peacebuilding actions and to pool our efforts and encourage to that end the implementation of an enhanced capacity-building coordination mechanism in partnership with the United Nations. We support the development of initiatives on the reinforcement of international civilian capacities in post-conflict situations and commit to enhance the recruitment, training and deployment of experts in this regard.
ANNEXES
1. Chair’s Summary of the Meeting of the G8 Ministers of Foreign Affairs (14-15 March 2011, Paris)

2. Statement on the 7th Review Conference for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention adopted by the G8 Ministers of Foreign Affairs (14-15 March 2011, Paris)

3. Political Declaration and Action Plan adopted by the Ministers responsible for the Fight against Illicit Drug Trafficking (10 May 2011, Paris)

4. Deauville Accountability Report: G8 Commitments on Health and Food Security, State of Delivery and Results

5. Declaration on Non Proliferation and Disarmament

6. Report on the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction

7. G8 Global Partnership – Assessment and Options for Future Programming

8. Report of the G8 Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG)

Daniel Shapiro confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Source: JTA, 5-27-11

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Daniel Shapiro as America’s ambassador to Israel.

Shapiro, who was confirmed May 26, had been nominated to the post in March by President Obama while serving as senior director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council.

He had coordinated Jewish outreach for the Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

An array of Jewish groups praised the president’s nomination of Shapiro.

Canadian PM Stephen Harper blocks mention of 1967 border in G8 Mideast statement

Source: Globe & Mail, 5-27-11

Israel Maps: Pre-1967 & Present Borders

Canadian PM Stephen Harper Lone Support for Israel at G8 — Prevents Reference to 1967 Borders in G8 Statement

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings and JBuzz. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish Studies at Concordia University.

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes statements during a closing news briefing at the G8 summit in Deauville, northern France May 27, 2011.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes statements during a closing news briefing at the G8 summit in Deauville, northern France May 27, 2011.

Photograph by: Jean-Paul Pelissierr, Reuters

IN FOCUS

  • G8 Summit Statement on Israel: G8 DECLARATION RENEWED COMMITMENT FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY G8 Summit of Deauville – May 26-27, 2011 – G8 Summit 2011

THE HEADLINES….

  • Harper blocks mention of 1967 border in G8 Mideast statement: Stephen Harper blocked G8 leaders from declaring in their summit statement that Middle East peace talks should be based on returning to Israel’s pre-war 1967 borders, plus negotiated land swaps.
    U.S. President Barack Obama had made that stand a key part of his campaign to re-launch peace talks, making the call for talks based on 1967 borders in a May 19 speech that was endorsed by most leaders of the Group of Eight countries gathered here.
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper answers reporters’ questions following the first day of the G8 Summit in Deauville, France. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
    But it’s a position that has been rejected by Israel, which regards returning to its smaller 1967 borders as unacceptable because they did not include East Jerusalem, which the Israeli government views as part of its capital, and key strategic territory for its security.
    G8 leaders meeting in Deauville, France had sought to include the reference to 1967 borders as a way to prod talks by signalling concessions must be made – they argued embracing the Arab Spring of pro-democracy movements should be combined with an urgent press for Mideast peace. But Mr. Harper judged that the draft other G8 leaders wanted wasn’t balanced, and didn’t refer to key Palestinian concessions that Mr. Obama also outlined in his speech…. – Globe & Mail, 5-27-11
  • G8 leaders omit mention of 1967 borders in Middle East statement: Diplomats say that Canada objected to a specific mention of the 1967 borders in statement issued by world leaders calling for resumption of Israel-Palestinian peace talks.
    Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said on Friday.
    Canada’s right-leaning Conservative government has adopted a staunchly pro-Israel position in international negotiations since coming to power in 2006, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying Canada will back Israel whatever the cost.
    Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Canada had insisted that no mention of Israel’s pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders’ final communique, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.
    “The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week,” one European diplomat said…. – Haaretz, 5-27-11
  • Harper’s role in Middle East peace efforts causes stir at G8: Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised a G8 resolution on the Middle East peace process Friday that, according to a media report, was watered down at his request to avoid a reference that has infuriated Israel.
    The stir at the summit over Harper’s role arose as the G8 leaders emerged with a $40-billion U.S. plan to help Egypt and Tunisia transform from dictatorships to democracies.
    French President Nicolas Sarkozy said $20 billion would come from multilateral institutions, such as the African Development Bank, $10 billion from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and $10 billion in direct bilateral aid from G8 countries — including $1 billion from France.
    But Canada refused to commit to any country-to-country aid, saying it has given sufficient funding since 2009 to multilateral institutions tasked to help the region.
    Reuters cited diplomatic sources saying that Harper insisted there be no reference to Israel’s borders before 1967, when it seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt, respectively, during the Six Day War…. – Montreal Gazette, 5-27-11
  • Obama statement on Israeli borders should be looked at in totality: Harper says: Focus over a return to 1967 borders as a condition for peace between Israel and Palestine misses some of the other points the U.S. is trying to make in how to achieve an end to that historic conflict, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday.
    Talks on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa have dominated the G8 summit in France. While the discussions have largely been about the economic and political impact of recent uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, addressing the older conflict in the region was revived ahead of the talks, thanks to a landmark address this month by U.S. President Barack Obama.
    In it, Obama urged that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders _ before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. It marked a significant shift in the U.S. position and infuriated Israel.
    Obama’s remarks were called “courageous” by French President Nicolas Sarkozy at a news conference Thursday, but Harper didn’t go that far in his first public comments on the speech.
    Obama’s speech needs to be looked at as a whole, Harper said. “President Obama emphasized that in a two-state solution, one of those states has to be a Jewish state and conceded to be a Jewish state, another is that the Palestinian state must be a demilitarized state,” Harper told a small news conference after the final working session of the G8 meetings on Thursday.
    “So I think these and other messages are important messages to deliver and I say I think if you look at the statement in its totality it was very balanced and it is certainly something that Canada can support.” The Canadian Press, 5-27-11
  • 1967 Lines Reference Pulled from G8 Statement: A reference to the 1967 lines as the basis for a future border was reportedly removed at Canada’s request from a G8 summit statement calling for renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.g8 summit
    Reuters cited unnamed diplomatic sources who said that the language was stricken at Canada’s insistence. The G8 summit, which is taking place this year in Deauville, France, brings together leaders of eight of the world’s leading economic powers.
    “The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week,” a European diplomat told Reuters.
    Obama’s call has been praised by some of the leaders of G8 member states, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
    Canada’s leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is known for his strongly pro-Israel views. Reuters obtained a copy of the final G8 statement, which expresses “strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama.” – Virtual Jerusalem, 5-27-11
  • 1967 lines reference pulled from G8 statement at Canada’s request: A reference to the 1967 lines as the basis for a future border was reportedly removed at Canada’s request from a G8 summit statement calling for renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
    Reuters cited unnamed diplomatic sources who said that the language was stricken at Canada’s insistence. The G8 summit, which is taking place this year in Deauville, France, brings together leaders of eight of the world’s leading economic powers.
    “The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week,” a European diplomat told Reuters.
    In his May 19 Middle East policy speech, President Obama called for the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps to be the basis for a future border between Israel and a Palestinian state. This formulation drew objections from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the 1967 lines “indefensible” for Israel.
    Obama’s call has been praised by some of the leaders of G8 member states, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
    Canada’s leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is known for his strongly pro-Israel views.
    Reuters obtained a copy of the final G8 statement, which expresses “strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama.” JTA, 5-27-11
  • Canada takes pro-Israeli stand at G8 summit: G8 Summit gives in to Canada’s stand against mentioning a specific stand of the 1967 borders at which called for re-commencement of Israel-Palestinian peace talks on Friday.
    Group of eight leaders (G8) had to change the statement which urged Israelis and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
    Canada’s right wing Conservative government adopted a pro-Israel position in the international negotiations since coming to power in 2006.
    Diplomats who were involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said, Canada was insistent that there should not be a mention of Israel’s pre-1967 borders in the communication even though most of the other country leaders wanted to talk about the subject.
    “The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week,” a European diplomat said, reported Reuters.
    A spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said there would be no comment on the line Canada had taken, saying only that the final communication will only make the positions clear.
    In the final communication, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, the leaders called for the immediate resumption of peace talks without mentioning the 1967 borders issue.
    “Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict,” the spokesperson said.
    “The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues. “To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011.”
    “When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand,” Harper had said earlier. – IBTimes, 5-27-11
  • Avigdor Lieberman thanks Canada PM for objection to 1967 borders at G8: The foreign minister tells Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ‘Canada is a true friend of Israel,’ after Harper insisted that no mention of Israel’s pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders’ final communiqué.
    Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday to thank him for objecting to a specific mention of 1967 borders in a statement on the Middle East released by leaders of the Group of Eight.
    Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit on Friday said Canada had insisted that no mention of Israel’s pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders’ final communiqué, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.
    “Canada is true friend of Israel,” Lieberman said, adding that they “understand that the 1967 lines are inconsistent with Israel’s security needs.”
    Lieberman and Harper also spoke about taking a stand against Hamas integration into a newly unified Palestinian government. The foreign minister also invited Harper to visit Israel…. – Haaretz, 5-27-11

QUOTES

  • Excerpts: G8 Statement on Israel: In the final communiqué of the G8, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, the leaders call for the immediate resumption of peace talks but do not mention 1967, the year Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt during the Six-Day War.
    “Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict,” the communiqué said.
    “The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues.
    “To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011.”
  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Remarks at G8 Summit on Israel: “You can’t cherry pick elements of that speech. In terms of being balanced and even-handed and tying to resolve the Middle East peace conference, all of the elements of that speech have to be looked at as a totality, and I think that’s the basis on which we have to approach the situation.”
    “I think if you’re going to get into other elements, obviously I would like to see reference to elements that were also in President Obama’s speech. Such as, for instance, the fact that one of the states must be a Jewish state. The fact that the Palestinian state must be de-militarized. I think it’s important that any statement on this be balanced, as was President Obama’s.”
  • B’nai Brith Canada: Prime Minster Harper’s strong G8 stance on Mideast welcomed: B’nai Brith Canada has welcomed the efforts of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ensure that the call of the G8 leaders for renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is not tied to any precondition relating to the 1967 borders.
    “We welcome the fact that the G8 communiqué will reportedly not impose preconditions that could a priori prejudice the negotiating framework and thereby undermine at the outset crucial Israeli security needs,” stated Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “Preconditions of this nature can only hamper negotiations and cannot ensure lasting peace between the parties.”
    “We are proud not just that our Prime Minster has taken such a principled position on the world stage, but that he evidently commands the respect of the G8 leaders who have accepted his recommendations on this issue.” – Canada Free Press, 5-27-11

Poll: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Popularity Rises Since US Trip

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 5-27-11

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity has risen dramatically following his Washington trip, according to a poll.
netanyahu congress 2011
Some 47 percent of Israelis polled believe Netanyahu’s trip to the United States was a success and some 10 percent viewed it as a failure, the new Haaretz poll found.

The poll found that 51 percent of those questioned were satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance, while 36 percent were not — nearly the opposite of a previous poll taken more than a month ago in which 38 percent of Israelis expressed satisfaction with Netanyahu’s performance and 53 percent disappointment.

Nearly half of the public felt “pride” at seeing Netanyahu address the U.S. Congress, while only 5 percent called it a “missed opportunity.” The rest expressed no opinion, while 20 percent of those questioned said they hadn’t watched the speech.

Some 43 percent of the respondents called Obama “businesslike,” 25 percent called him “friendly” and 20 percent hostile.

Netanyahu’s Popularity Up After US Trip

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 5-27-11


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity has risen dramatically following his Washington trip, according to a poll.

Some 47 percent of Israelis polled believe Netanyahu’s trip to the United States was a success and some 10 percent viewed it as a failure, the new Haaretz poll found.

The poll found that 51 percent of those questioned were satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance,netanyahu congress 2011 while 36 percent were not — nearly the opposite of a previous poll taken more than a month ago in which 38 percent of Israelis expressed satisfaction with Netanyahu’s performance and 53 percent disappointment.

Nearly half of the public felt “pride” at seeing Netanyahu address the U.S. Congress, while only 5 percent called it a “missed opportunity.” The rest expressed no opinion, while 20 percent of those questioned said they hadn’t watched the speech.

Some 43 percent of the respondents called Obama “businesslike,” 25 percent called him “friendly” and 20 percent hostile.

The poll was conducted by the Dialog organization under the supervision of Professor Camil Fuchs of the Tel Aviv University Statistics Department.

AIPAC: Powerful US Lobby on Pro-Israel Mission

Source: AFP, 5-26-11

When the full complement of US lawmakers watched Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address Congress on Tuesday, two-thirds of them had already heard him the previous night — at top US pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also hosted President Barack Obama at its conference, and while he has pushed hard for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, AIPAC has been seen as trying to hem in US presidents when they push a peace deal which the lobby sees as unfavorable to the Jewish state.

AIPAC has indisputably emerged as the most influential foreign policy lobby in the United States — possibly eclipsing the traditional powerhouse lobbies for domestic gun rights, oil and retirees.

When its delegates trooped to Capitol Hill this week for a day of lobbying, they met with all 100 senators and nearly every one of 435 US representatives.

“They’re the most sophisticated, effective lobby interest group in Washington, without a doubt,” Aaron David Miller, an advisor to several US secretaries of state and now scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, told AFP.

Obama took heat at AIPAC’s annual conference for suggesting that the 1967 lines with land swaps should be a basis for peace negotiations.

Many AIPAC members sided with Netanyahu when he criticized Obama over his stance during a recent visit to the White House.

AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr spoke out about the discord, stressing that the leaders “work out whatever differences arise between them privately, and when tensions do arise, that the leaders work together to close those gaps.”

The pair mended fences — at least publicly — with Netanyahu in Congress thanking Obama for his “steadfast” support.

AIPAC was forged in the 1960s, when Israel’s survival was far from assured, and it worked over the next decades to cement the idea that US and Israeli values were one and the same, and to secure an annual multibillion-dollar aid package for the lone democracy in the Middle East.

It’s worked, with the vast majority of US lawmakers publicly aligning with Israel and pledging US support for its security.

This week the organization hosted a record 10,000 delegates at a sprawling convention center, serving what some quipped was the largest kosher meal ever….READ MORE

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Responds to RJC’s Matthew Brooks: Obama isn’t losing support of Jewish voters

Source: LAT, 5-26-11

President Obama and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, depart Air Force One in Miami last month. At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Wasserman Schultz denied Obama is losing the support of Jewish voters over his Mideast policy.
President Obama and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, depart Air Force One in Miami last month. At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Wasserman Schultz denied Obama is losing the support of Jewish voters over his Mideast policy. (Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Thursday that it is a “gross overstatement” to suggest that President Obama did serious damage to his support from Jewish voters when he proposed last week that Israel’s 1967 borders should be the starting point for peace talks with Palestinians. She also lashed out at a Republican Jewish organization that has been critical of her, denouncing what she said was the group’s decision to put partisanship ahead of its support for Israel.

“If you looked at the Jewish community at large, if you polled the Jewish community at large, there are Jewish voters, Jewish Americans, who are expressing concern about the president’s policy,” she said. “But what he said, followed on by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session on Tuesday, was essentially what has been American policy since President Clinton. “

“We need to make sure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue, and that’s what we talked about in that meeting,” Wasserman Schultz said. She quoted Netanyahu as saying, at the end of the meeting, that when it comes to Israel, “we need to erase the aisle” between Democrats and Republicans.

“Everyone that calls themselves legitimately pro-Israel believes that we should not make Israel a partisan issue.  Unfortunately, I think there are organizations that claim to be pro-Israel that are partisan first and pro-Israel second. And I think unfortunately the way the Republican Jewish Coalition has conducted itself is they put their Republicanism in front of their pro-Israel stance. And I think that’s unfortunate. And I think it’s why the Israeli Embassy said that Israel should not be a partisan issue.”

In 2008, she said, “there were dire predictions that candidate Obama was not going to have, not just an erosion of Jewish support, but would lose the Jewish vote. The first time, potentially, a Democratic candidate for president would lose the Jewish vote. President Obama ended up getting 78% of that vote.”

“I think the Republicans are going to certainly attempt to make it an issue,” she said. “They attempted to make it an issue in 2008.”

Baltimore Sun: Obama Mideast plan betrays Israel

Source: Baltimore Sun, 5-26-11

True to form, President Obama began backpedaling from his statement to Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel needs to return to her 1967 borders when he later explained to AIPAC( American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) that his statement was “mischaracterized.” It’s hard to know if he is arrogant or just naïve concerning the underlying conflict, or if he is actually less than genuine toward Israel and its fight to survive as the only true democracy in the Middle East and America’s staunchest ally. It is incomprehensible to think Israel could defend herself against the onslaught of terrorism that would surely ensue, and it is idealistic to believe that this would bring peace to the region. Israel pulled out of Lebanon and Hezbollah took over. She pulled out of Gaza, and Hamas, which exists only to destroy Israel, has taken over. Does anyone believe that turning over the West Bank would be any different? The more concessions she makes, the greater the violence she faces from Islamic terrorism because Israel’s very existence is anathema to them and is seen as an affront to their god.

https://i0.wp.com/www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/2011_05/pre-1967-map-Final01.jpg

Israel, the size of New Jersey, is surrounded by 17 Islamic nations with 640 times more land, and many with exorbitant wealth from oil. Surely there is enough room and wealth amongst them to absorb and settle their Muslim brothers. On June 7, 1967 six Arab nations coordinated an attack against her declaring, “We will stop when we have pushed you into the sea!” It was David versus Goliath all over again when 650,000 Jews were surrounded by 40 million Arabs, and 1.5 million were armed against 80,000 Jews in Jerusalem who were cut off from the rest of Israel. In a stunning, epic reversal, Israel not only survived but regained her biblical lands of Samaria and Judea (renamed West Bank by Jordan to reduce Jewish claims to the area), the Golan, Gaza, and Sinai desert.

Giving up land for peace does not work, and to give up more would be to commit national suicide. Not only did President Obama warrant the lecture Mr. Netanyahu gave him, but he should investigate both the ancient and recent history of the Palestinian conflict: The first “refugees” who fled Israel in 1948 did so at the command of the Arab armies so that the Jews could be more easily destroyed. They were told, “Once we push the Jews into the sea, you can return and have your land back and theirs too.” But when it didn’t happen that way, instead of making room for them in their nations where they share the same culture and religion, they have used them as a lightning rod to garner support for their hateful cause. They sow the seeds of anti-Semitism into the hearts of their school children and reap suicide bombers.

They refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. If they weren’t happy with Israel’s 1967 borders, and attacked her then, why would they be now? In America our government is in a perpetual state of vigilance to keep the terrorists from gaining access at our borders. For our president to prescribe Israel to expose herself to such peril is rash at best, and at worst, a betrayal. I hope Jews in America will continue to let their voices be heard, with all who support a democratic Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman: Israel’s Security first, then borders

In Paris, FM says Palestinian state can only be achieved through talks, urges European leaders to reject unilateral statehood bid.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-26-11

Israel must reach an agreement on its security before it can address the issue of permanent borders in negotiations for a twostate solution, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday.

Lieberman spoke during a meeting with his French counterpart, Alain Juppé, in Paris, where he is attending the annual meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development….

Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel unless it halts all Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel has rejected this demand.

In response, Palestinians have threatened to seek recognition of statehood at the United Nations in September.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that if the peace process remains deadlocked, his country would consider supporting the unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood in September….

“We will only examine other options likely to restore political momentum to the peace process if the deadlock situation continues until September 2011,” the representative said.

With respect to the borders of a two-state solution, the representative said that “the 1967 lines must constitute the framework for the negotiations – but this must not exclude the possibility of land swaps agreed by the parties.”
“Regarding the issue of security, the terms of the agreement must not call into question Israel’s security, which is not negotiable. It’s important to put an end to settlement activity and to ensure the sovereignty of the future viable democratic Palestinian state, living in peace alongside Israel,” the French representative said.

But Israel has said that it cannot defend itself within the pre-1967 lines, and has rejected any call to return to them.

The final borders, Lieberman also said, must reflect demographic realities, and the pre-1967 lines were not compatible with Israel’s demographic reality.

He added that in a final-status agreement, the Palestinians must declare an end to the conflict, and an absence of any claims on Israel.

Canada’s PM Stephen Harper Lone Israel Supporter at G8 Summit

On Israel, Harper stands alone at G8 summit

Source: Globe & Mail, 5-25-11

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in Deauville, France on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 to attend the G8 Summit. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in Deauville, France on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 to attend the G8 Summit. | Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Gabi Ashkenazi: We don’t know where Gilad Shalit is in Gaza

Ashkenazi: We don’t know where Gilad is

Ex-IDF chief says Israel unable to stage military op to retrieve Hamas-held solider due to lack of concrete intelligence on his whereabouts

Source: YNet News, 5-25-11

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi spoke at a Bar Ilan University conference Wednesday and said that while in office, her failed in regards to securing the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Ashkenazi, who was given an honorary doctorate by the university, said: “We have to admit that we do not have the ability to use military force to free Gilad. My biggest fantasy was to see a helicopter land at Erez crossing, with Gilad in it, and calling his parents to tell them we got him back.

Hamas has Shalit hidden in such a way that we cannot locate him. We don’t know where he is. If we fail to manufacture a military option for his release, we have to admit it and pay a reasonable price for his return.”…READ MORE

Israeli Ministers Inaugurate New East Jerusalem Settlement Ma’aleh Zeitim

Day after Netanyahu addresses Congress, his ministers inaugurate East Jerusalem settlement

Knesset speaker at ceremony comments on Obama’s recent Mideast policy speech, asking what will happen if ‘one day there is a president that thinks Israel’s existence contradicts America’s interest?’

Source: Haaretz, 5-25-11

One day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Jerusalem will not be divided, the speaker of the Knesset and several other government ministers attended a dedication ceremony for the new Jewish settlement of Ma’aleh Zeitim, in East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and Information Minister Daniel Hershkovitz all participated in the ceremony – this despite the fact that the Jewish neighborhood has already been inhabited for several years.

Maaleh Zeitim, May 25 2011, Olivier Pitosi Activists at Ma’aleh Zeitim in Jerusalem, May 25 2011.
Photo by: Olivier Pitosi

Rivlin delivered a speech at the ceremony, where he made a warning based on the recent Mideast policy speech laid out by United States President Barack Obama.

“Until today, despite a difference of opinions, there were relations between Israel and the U.S. based on mutual interests, shared democratic values, and recognition of the right of the Jewish people in their country,” Rivlin said.

“But this time, I hear another note from the U.S. president…. That Israel doesn’t need to be strict on the conditions that will protect her existence, that the U.S. will be responsible for [Israel’s] security and existence. And what happens if one day there is a president that thinks that Israel’s existence contradicts Americans’ interests?”

Rivlin condemned those that seek to “cut up” Jerusalem, as bringing “disaster” onto the city and its residents.

The comments come shortly after a weekend where U.S. President Barack Obama called for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on borders from 1967, which Netanyahu calls “indefensible”….READ MORE

Egypt to open border crossing for Palestinians

Egypt will open its only crossing with the Gaza Strip this weekend, the Cairo military government announced Wednesday, significantly easing a four-year blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory but setting up a potential conflict with Israel.

This gives Gaza Palestinians a way to freely enter and exit their territory for the first time since 2007, when Hamas overran the territory, and Israel and Egypt closed the crossings.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Fox News Interview

Cable Exclusive: Israeli PM Netanyahu Talks Candidly About Mideast Conflict, Relationship With U.S.

Source: Fox News, 5-25-11

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on Capitol Hill today. He addressed a packed House chamber before a special joint meeting of Congress. And moments before his historic speech, right after that, I sat down with him in Washington. And you’re going to see that interview just moments from now.

But first, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from his speech from earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We are already built.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.

(APPLAUSE)

And you don’t need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves!

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And today in a cable exclusive interview, I asked the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about that speech and much, much more. Let’s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Mr. Prime Minister, welcome back sir, it’s an honor to have you.

NETANYAHU: Good to see you, Sean.

HANNITY: I appreciate you being here.

Just prior to your arrival, the president gave a speech and talked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It made a lot of news and in the speech he said, the U.S. believes a negotiations should result in two states with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, Egypt and then he said the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for bottle states. It caused a bit of an uproar.

NETANYAHU: Well, I was very happy to hear the president add the other side of the coin. He said, there will be no return to the June 4th, 1967 lines. And I agree with that obviously because I think those lines are indefensible. Israel would only be nine miles wide, that is kind of hard to defend. You know, that’s half the width of the Washington Beltway. I was in the Capitol today. It’s the width from the Capitol building to Bethesda.

HANNITY: Short.

NETANYAHU: Yes, just imagine America compressed to half the Washington Beltway. We won’t be able to defend ourselves. So, I said that we would have to maintain a permanent Israeli presence along the Jordan River. And I think there’s agreement between Israel and United States, that Israel must have defensible borders. Because in our part of the world, there’s a simple truth, a peace you can’t defend is a peace that will not hold.

HANNITY: Things changed pretty dramatically though in the course of the time that you’ve been here. The president went into great detail in his APEC speech to clarify those remarks. What did that mean to you, when he clarified it?

NETANYAHU: Well, you know, we talked about that in our conversation too, and I was glad — in the lunch that we had, too. I think it was important. Because it reassures Israel that we’ll have a defensible peace, a realistic peace. And I think also that the fact that he said that peace will only be negotiated between the parties. It’s not going to be imposed by the U.N., the U.N. can decide anything. The U.N. can decide that the sun revolves around the Earth and that both are flat discs. It could actually do that. They pass these outrageous resolutions.

So, when the president said, that’s not going to happen, and that’s not going to succeed in the Security Council, because they will block it, and because peace has to be negotiated. So, a negotiated peace in which the Palestinians recognize, finally recognize the Jewish state. And in which Israel has defensible boundaries, that’s a good thing. I agree with that, obviously.

HANNITY: So, as this week has evolved, how would you describe your relationship with President Obama?

NETANYAHU: I think it is a very, very important and positive development and a positive relationship. We have a lot of things that don’t meet the eye. People don’t see it. The press loves to take differences we have, blow it up, you know, it is very attractive.

But I spent seven meetings with the president. That’s a lot of hours. And we have so much more that we agree on than those areas that we disagree on. And there are things that people don’t know. They don’t know that Israeli-American security cooperation is at an all-time high.

We just — I don’t know if you know this, we had a revolutionary development in military history. We’ve had the support of the United States for Israeli technology to develop an anti-missile system. And we just intercepted in combat seven incoming rockets aimed at Israeli cities and they never got there. We intercepted them in mid-air.

Now, that’s partly a result of the American support for Israel that has taken place now. I appreciate that. I think it is important with all the hoopla — it is important to say these things. Because there’s so much that binds Israel and the United States together. And I think it needs to be said.

HANNITY: So, could we say that there is a healthy understanding — I watched the speech today, and 29 standing ovations. You got 10 good jokes in, and over 50 moments of applause. By any estimation, a very, very warm welcome from the United States Congress, a joint session of Congress. Would it be fair to say there’s a healthy understanding with the White House and Congress, understanding Israel’s security needs?

NETANYAHU: I think so. And I think also some basic principles. You know, Palestinian authority just embraced Hamas. Which I think is a tragedy. Hamas talks about destroying Israel. You know, just fired a missile deliberately, into — a rocket, into a yellow school bus. They killed, you know, they killed a 16-year-old boy. In rockets, our cities and our civilians. It is keeping (INAUDIBLE) our captured soldier for five years without one visit from the Red Cross. It’s a criminal organization committed to our destruction saying that they have a holy mandate to kill Jews everywhere. It’s not a partner for peace.

So, the other thing that we agree on is that you can’t negotiate with Hamas. You don’t negotiate with people who want to kill you….READ MORE

Full Text: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Address to a Joint Session of the United States Congress

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress

May 24, 2011

ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו נואם בפני הקונגרס האמריקאי בוושינגטון. צילום: אבי אוחיון לע”מ

I am deeply honored by your warm welcome. And I am deeply honored that you have given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time.

Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time we were the new kids in town?

And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I do see a lot of new friends of Israel here. Democrats and Republicans alike.

Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance!

In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.

My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.

Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future. For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.

These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then. The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah.

So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray

that the peoples of the region choose the path less traveled, the path of liberty. No one knows what this path consists of better than you. This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.

Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different.

As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will “shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East.” Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates. You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.

Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We’re proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel!

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.

Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab World. Well, it’s begun to take root. This beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future. They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace.

Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise.

A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway.

Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of outrage. In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence. It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies.

But not you. Not America. You have acted differently. You’ve condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran. History will salute you America.

President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He successfully led the Security Council to adopt sanctions against Iran. You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions. These words and deeds are vitally important.

Yet the Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.

My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it. Israel wants peace. Israel needs peace. We’ve achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades.

I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my brother.

So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days. The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East.

This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace.

The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they’re not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.

I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.

This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.

This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.

But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.

We’ve already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years,

the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves. Prime Minister Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation.

We’ve helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10% a year.

Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said… “I will accept a Palestinian state.” It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… “I will accept a Jewish state.”

Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.

This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.

These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone serious about peace. In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous. President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state. Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.

This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.

So peace must be anchored in security. In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza. But we didn’t get peace. Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.

The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size. Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world. Mr. Vice President, I’ll grant you this. It’s bigger than Delaware. It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it. Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.

Now here’s a bit of nostalgia. I first came to Washington thirty years ago as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond the Beltway. But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.

So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.

And when I say tomorrow, I don’t mean some distant time in the future. I mean — tomorrow. Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end.

I appreciate the President’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.

And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.

So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.

My friends, the momentous trials of the last century, and the unfolding events of this century, attest to the decisive role of the United States in advancing peace and defending freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All peoples who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation. Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds, in ancient and modern times alike.

I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you, representatives of America, Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the world. May God bless all of you. And may God forever bless the United States of America.

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