Full Text Israel Political Brief October 27, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Iran’s Nuclear Capability and the Peace Talks

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

Source: PMO, 10-27-13

יום ראשון כ”ג חשון תשע”ד

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

“Iran is willing to give up on enriching uranium to 20% and therefore a discussion on this issue is unimportant. The importance of the issue became superfluous in the wake of the technological improvements that allow Iran to enrich uranium from 3.5% to 90% in a number of weeks. Pressure on Iran should be increased because it is continuing enrichment even as it negotiates.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu added:

“We want to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. In this agreement, we will insist on the vital interests of the State of Israel, first of all security, of course, and including our ability to continue defending our eastern border. We ascribe importance to the unity of Jerusalem and, of course, to the cancellation of the right of return. Regarding the issue of the Jewish state that comes up from time to time, we are not looking for the Palestinians to ratify our identity, our heritage and our connection to this land – this is not the problem from our point-of-view. We are demanding from them that at the end of the negotiations, they will renounce all their claims, including national claims, and that they recognize the national rights of the Jewish people in the State of Israel, and [recognizing] Israel as our national state is an integral part of their recognition that there are no national demands and no national rights in the State of Israel. These views were presented very clearly in my talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and in other forums.”

Israel Musings October 26, 2013: Netanyahu, Kerry meet in Rome over Iran and peace talks

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Netanyahu, Kerry meet in Rome over Iran and peace talks (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States Secretary of State John Kerry met in Rome on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 to discuss Iran’s nuclear weapons talks and the progress of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, as well…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 15, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at Special Knesset Session Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War

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Address by PM Netanyahu Special Knesset Session Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War

Source: PMO, 10-15-13

יום שלישי י”א חשון תשע”ד
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Photo by GPO

Translation

The Yom Kippur War was a time of trial for the State of Israel, which found itself in a fateful battle against those who sought its destruction. The blow that we suffered in the first few days necessitated the mobilizing of all forces in the war effort.

With talks about the “destruction of the Third Temple” in the background, the soldiers of the IDF demonstrated unparalleled bravery on both the southern and northern fronts. Those who forced us into a war we did not seek encountered national unity and the willpower of a determined nation. Within a few days, the IDF soldiers succeeded in turning the tables: we moved from defense to offence, and by the time the cease fire was announced, the IDF was already on its way to Cairo and Damascus.

Today, forty years after the attack that sent shockwaves throughout the country, we salute the heroic soldiers who rescued us from the traps of complacency, vanity and misconception.

Distinguished guests,

The war left a painful wound in our souls and a deep scar in our flesh. The bottom line, however, is that we won a major victory. The lessons of that war have remained with us for the past four decades, and they are interwoven into the lessons we have accumulated from all the other wars and battles we fought.

The first lesson is to never underestimate the threats and never underestimate the enemy. Never ignore the warning signs. One cannot assume that our enemies will necessarily act in accordance with our assessments. They can be surprising and unpredictable. We paid the price of repression and self-deception, and we will never make that mistake again. Israel will always stand guard.

The second lesson is that the option of a preemptive strike cannot be automatically dismissed. Not every situation necessitates such a strike and all options must be weighed carefully, but there are times when the fear of an international response is diminished in comparison with the price we could pay for absorbing a strategic strike for which we will have to respond late, maybe too late.

A preemptive strike is one of the most difficult decisions a government is required to make, because it will never be able to show what would happen had it not taken action. At the same time, the major difference between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War lies first and foremost in the fact that in the Six Day War we initiated a preemptive strike to extricate ourselves from the noose imposed on us by our enemies, while in the Yom Kippur War, despite the warning signs, the government chose to absorb the full force of the enemy’s attack.

The third lesson is the strategic importance of buffer zones. Our presence in the Golan and the Sinai enabled us to prevent infiltration deep into the territory of Israel. Following this experience, no one could comprehend forfeiting these buffer zones, even in peace arrangements. Therefore, it was clear that in the peace negotiations with Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula would have to be demilitarized. Such demilitarization, which has existed for almost 40 years, is essential. Without it, I doubt that the peace would hold. This demilitarization has been in place for almost 40 years, since the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt.

And there is a fourth lesson as well. Peace is achieved through strength. In the Yom Kippur War, despite the enemy’s excellent opening terms, our neighbors learned that they could not defeat us by force. This understanding is a result of the war. Five years later, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, signed a peace treaty. A peace agreement would later be reached with Jordan, and we are making genuine efforts to achieve peace with our Palestinian neighbors.

Peace can only be achieved if the hostile countries around us understand that Israel is powerful enough and that it will not disappear and will not be uprooted. The Yom Kippur War changed the face of Israeli society, necessitating a very painful and ongoing soul-searching. The failures, the debacles and the weaknesses entailed an in-depth and fundamental correction. This is an ongoing effort and we work on it constantly. It is first and foremost because of that war, but as I said earlier, in retrospect, Israel emerged stronger from the war.

Forty years ago there were less than three and a half million people living here. Today, we are more than eight million. Our economy expanded, and it is stable and prosperous. Just to clarify – our population has more than doubled, our economy is 25 times larger. It is as if you took the Israeli economy during the Yom Kippur War and placed 25 such economies side by side – this is the State of Israel today. Israel is a creative and advanced state, with a free and vibrant society, a society of remarkable achievements. And we continue to move forward and reach new heights. Our greatest achievement, however, was gained during the agony and despair of that terrible attack on Yom Kippur. Sporadic rumors about the falling of friends and acquaintances turned into a massive flow, and all forces needed to be mobilized to bear the terrible grief.

My brother Yoni participated in the battles on the Golan Heights. I wish to read you a portion of a letter he wrote to my parents, the first letter after the fights: “It was undoubtedly the most difficult war we have ever known. It was, at the very least, more intense and more terrifying, with more casualties, more successes and more failures than the battles and wars I have known. But it is because of the initial failures – failures in the military assessment, in the interpretation of the intelligence, in war doctrines, in political assessments and in the complacency of the entire nation – that the victory was so great. The army is strong and good and it has proven its abilities beyond any doubt. And when I say the army”, he wrote, “I mean not only the regular army, but the entire people. The soldiers succeeded, at a very heavy cost, to ward off the enemies, but it is the people who won the war”.

He was right, but the price we paid was unbearably high, the highest since the War of Independence. More than 2,100 of our finest sons fell in the Yom Kippur War, and thousands of others were injured. Some still bear the scars, some are with us here today.

Today, the 11th of Cheshvan, marks the passing of Rachel the Matriarch, the mother of the nation, who shares in the agony of her sons in their time of trouble. The Prophet’s promise to Rachel echoes in our ears: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for there is reward for your accomplishment.”

We mourn the loss of our sons and our friends and we send our best wishes for recovery to the wounded. There is reward for their actions. Thanks to their courage and perseverance, our independence and the existence of our nation from generation to generation were secured. May their memory be blessed.

Israel Musings October 15, 2013: PM Netanyahu kicks-off Knesset winter session with focus on Iran and peace talks

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Netanyahu kicks-off Knesset winter session with focus on Iran and peace talks (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Israeli Knesset returned for the winter session on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, with a ceremony that included speeches by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Opposition Leader Shelly Yachimovich from the Labor Party…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 15, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Opening of the Winter Knesset Session

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement at the Opening of the Winter Knesset Session

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset during the opening of the winter session, on October 14, 2013. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset during the opening of the winter session, on October 14, 2013. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Source: PMO, 10-15-13

יום שני י’ חשון תשע”ד

– Translation –

First, I am sure that the members of Knesset and all of Israel’s citizens join me in sending condolences to the family of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, of blessed memory, and his many followers, as we mark seven days since his passing. Rabbi Ovadia was one of a long line of Jewish scholars who devoted their lives to studying the Torah and adapting halachah to the ever-changing needs of the people of Israel. Many of us, and I too, were moved to see how he continued to labor over the scriptures until the very end, even when his health deteriorated, knowing that he was making his contribution to the eternal heritage of the people of Israel.

Members of Knesset, during the summer break, three dramatic international developments took place in our region – in Iran, Syria and Egypt.

First, Iran. For years, we have been successful in creating a broad international front against Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. Under our advocacy and thanks to the efforts of the United States and many other countries, harsh economic sanctions were imposed on Iran. Due to this pressure, Iran’s economy is currently very close to its breaking point. But we must admit that despite the pressure, the regime in Tehran has not relinquished its goal to develop nuclear weapons. But it has done something: it has changed its tactic to achieve this goal. It is now willing to make insignificant changes to its nuclear program, changes which would leave it with the ability to develop nuclear weapons, in return for easing up the sanctions, which could bring about a collapse of the entire sanctions regime.

Now, due to its systematic violations of the Security Council’s resolutions, Iran can rapidly enrich uranium from a low 3.5% to 90%, which is the enrichment level required to create fissile material for nuclear weapons. Therefore, Iran is willing to give up enrichment to the mid-level 20%, which it no longer needs, for a significant ease in the sanctions. This is to say that Iran is willing to give very little and to receive very much, if not everything.

My friends, there is no reason to allow this Iranian move to be successful. There is no reason why we should back down from Security Council resolutions which require Iran to suspend its enrichment capabilities and its heavy water project in Arak, which, by the way, has only one purpose – nuclear weapons, not civilian energy. Anyway, why does Iran need nuclear civilian energy when it has so much oil, so much gas, for generations to come.

It would be a historic mistake to ease up the pressure at this time, a moment before the sanctions achieve their objective. Now, more than ever, we cannot let up and we must continue the pressure. We must remember that international pressure is what brought about the internal shift in Iran, it is what caused Iran to offer any concessions at all, it brought them to the negotiating table, and it is what could lead them to actually abandon their military nuclear program.

I will tell you one more thing: Despite common conceptions, easing up the pressure will not strengthen the trend of moderation in Iran. On the contrary, it will actually strengthen the unyielding perception of the real leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei, and will be taken as a significant victory on his behalf. I believe that many around the world understand that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran does not threaten Israel only.

Mr. President, you were right when you said that Iran continues, unobstructed, to develop intercontinental missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, which is the sole purpose of these missiles, they have no other objective. These missiles can reach any part of the Middle East, Europe, the United States and other parts of the world. The entire region would be under grave danger as would global peace. However, there is no doubt that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran would be aimed at us first. The Iranians openly declare that to be their intention, and that is why Israel will not allow Iran, who has made our annihilation its mission, to obtain nuclear weapons.
With regards to Syria, for many years we said that a rogue regime which has unconventional weapons could purposefully use it one day. We also said that a combination of economic pressure together with a credible military threat could bring such a regime to surrender these weapons.

My friends, both of these things have happened in Syria. The regime in Damascus used chemical weapons against its citizens, and due to an American military threat, was forced into accepting measures to destroy these weapons. This procedure of dismantling the chemical weapons in Syria is important, positive and vital, but only if it is done to its fullest extent. Therefore it is important that any country that can help with this, does whatever it can on this matter, as will Israel.

But I want to ask you something: What would the international response be if Syria would propose disposing of 20% of its chemical weapons and keep all other capabilities? That is exactly what Iran’s offer is. Just as we must ensure that Syria does not deceive the international community and that it completely dismantles its chemical weapons, we cannot allow Iran to continue its military nuclear program and leave it with nuclear breakout capabilities. At the same time, we will continue our policy which prevents Syria from transferring dangerous weapons to Hezbollah.

With respect to Egypt, we attribute great importance to our peace with it. Our peace with Egypt is an anchor of stability in the heart of the Middle East. Nobody knows as well as we do how important any anchor of stability is. The peace between us is based, first and foremost, on solid security arrangements and on international understandings, understandings that must be maintained at all costs.

The events that have been unfolding in our region prove that the radical Islam’s assumption of power is not inevitable nor irreversible. Two years ago, the start of the “Arab Spring” brought about a sense of euphoria. I did not share it, and some of you, or even many of you, also had your doubts, but on the other hand, there was a concern that the victory of radical Islam was inevitable.

Gentlemen, it is not inevitable, because many of the peoples in the region have a deep desire to shake off the radical power of Iran, of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaida and their proxies. I think that this is an important development and I would go as far as saying, a development with historic significance.

For the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel, a growing understanding is taking root in the Arab world, and it is not always said softly. This understanding, that Israel is not the enemy of Arabs and that we have a united front on many issues, might advance new possibilities in our region. I also hope that it might help the peace process between us and the Palestinians, which I will discuss shortly.

But I can say that at this point in time, many countries in the region look to us with hope, because they sense the consistency and decisiveness of our positions and our willingness to act to defend ourselves if necessary. Today, many understand that it is good that we did not get swept up in that Arab Spring euphoria, and that we were smart enough to lead the State of Israel outside the regional turmoil responsibly and with discretion.

My friends, my job is to see the reality as it is, certainly the reality of the region. The citizens of Israel and their safety is constantly before my eyes, and it is my responsibility to ensure that they can continue their routine lives of calm and prosperity in this stormy region.

Besides the turbulence and trouble we must deal with, every now and again, we also have moments of pleasure and national pride. A few weeks ago, an Israeli company was sold to Google for a billion dollars, and today another sale was announced of another company being sold to Facebook for hundreds of millions. Despite the unfortunate reports of impending dismissals, we must remember that Israel’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the Western world.

Although we are opening the winter session today, I remind you that we are still benefitting from summer savings time. The citizens of Israel appreciate the fact that facing the worst turbulence in our region since the establishment of the State of Israel, our security situation has improved in the last few years, and despite a global economic crisis, Israel’s economy continues to grow. I promise the citizens of Israel: we will continue to improve the quality of life, we will continue to work to lower the cost of living so that we all may live with economic welfare and be proud of our country. We are required to adopt a clear-headed responsible policy on internal matters, which we were also told to do by the President and the Speaker of the House, and rightly so.

We have several missions ahead of us during this winter session: to bring about a change in the system of government, which will strengthen governance; to pass a referendum law, so that the people of Israel can make the decision on any peace agreement; and to distribute the burden more fairly, without siccing one population on another, and maintaining unity among the people. I intend to hold discussions with the heads of the coalition parties to enable passing these laws, and yes, I also intend to get support, as much as possible, from members of the opposition, in part at least.

But before all this, I see before me matters of defense and border security. Our decisive security policy has been reflected in many anti-terrorism missions, not all of which are reported, and in the Pillar of Defense Operation. This policy is proving itself, and the present calm, the most quiet we have not had here for over a decade, is proof of that. However, Members of Knesset, we take the recent terrorist acts in Judea and Samaria very seriously, and we are acting swiftly to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In regards to securing our borders, we have completely stopped the illegal immigration. In the last six months we have had no border infiltrators, zero. Israel is in fact the only Western country to have completely succeeded in stopping illegal infiltration of its borders, which was threatening the Jewish and democratic nature of the State of Israel. First 3,000 came, then 6,000 every month. Multiply that by 12 and you have 80,000 per year. You all know the meaning of this. It would pose a threat to the future of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and this is an important achievement.
We will continue to work to return the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who crossed the border before we completed the border fence in the south. I am aware of the suffering of the citizens of the South, southern Tel Aviv and other places in Israel. I was in Eilat before the fence was built, and in other places, and I spoke to the local people who cried – there is no other word. I promise you that just as we stopped the border infiltrations we will also make sure we remove those who came in before we put a stop to it. One must also understand that the fence was not the only thing that stopped the infiltration, but also economic legislation, intensive international activity, holding facilities and others. If need be, we will present new legislation that will conform to the ruling of the High Court of Justice, and that will ensure one thing – complete control over our borders.

Meanwhile, we will continue the economic development of the State of Israel, including developing new and important markets, headed by China. I was there on a visit that started cooperation on a very high level with the Chinese Government. Ministers go there and my economic adviser, Prof. Eugene Kandel, was there now. We are moving forward because we only need a tiny slice of a vast market to fulfill the growth needs of the State of Israel, and we need growth for the welfare of our citizens and also for our security needs. Many countries appreciate how Israel functions economically, many of these countries’ economies are far less successful.

But we are doing another thing, and you probably see it, Members of Knesset. We will continue to create new ways to bring the center of Israel closer to the periphery and the periphery, closer to the center. We will do this by continuing to invest in roads, bridges, overpasses and railways. We are determined to break out of the area spanning between Hadera and Gedera, and we have already brought this message to other regions of the country. Largely thanks to Government investments, the Negev is becoming alive, but, my friends, the big leap forward is still ahead of us.

The fastest growing part of global economy grows in relation to the internet. It is not linear growth, it is growing at a remarkable pace and the internet requires protection – from individual hackers, organizations, countries. The State of Israel is a great power in that field. When we established the National Cyber Bureau two years ago, I said that we would be among the five cyber superpowers in the world. Members of Knesset, I am telling you that we are there, and we are not number five. I doubt if we are as low as number four on the list.
We know that when we decided to move IDF bases to the south, we decided to realize that decision that we had discussed, to finance it. We are giving to Beer Sheva, the university, the train station there, we are bringing the intelligence units, IDF’s elite units and the defense system, the Cyber Bureau, everything will be there. Next to the university, with an industrial park, and Beer Sheva and its suburbs will become a globally leading cyber metropolitan. Mark my words. Leading cyber companies in Israel and the world are already moving to Beer Sheva and many others are on their way. This is my vision – basing the development of the Negev on Governmental infrastructural support and on business. Combining these two things is key, otherwise it remains a dream.

This is our way to turn the vision into reality. This is already affecting all the communities and towns I visited yesterday and many others – Netivot, Ofakim, Sderot, Dimona, Yerucham – they will all benefit from this. The Arab villages too, everyone will benefit from it. The railway to Eilat will no longer be a vision for the distant future, but an executable project. On Shabbat, I read the Haftarah from the book of Isaiah. It reads: “Clear ye in the wilderness… make plain in the desert a highway…” We are doing just that in practice. The journey from Tel Aviv to Eilat will take only two and a half hours. That will be a transportation revolution, the scope of which has never occurred in Israel’s history.

And in the other direction, in the North, the medical school which we opened in Tsfat was a welcome addition to the entire Galilee. So are the highways and overpasses we are building and the railroad tracks we are laying in the north. An advanced bio-technology center is being built near Tsfat, which will give a significant push to the northern part of Israel and all its residents. My vision is to abolish the periphery and have an Israel that is connected from Metula to Eilat and have the development towns finally become developed towns.

Members of Knesset, we share another goal – to achieve peace with our Palestinian neighbors. We all want genuine peace, stable and safe and not an agreement that will fall apart as soon as it is signed. This peace is based on two foundations: security and mutual recognition.

In the area of security, it is becoming clear how important our assertion that under any agreement Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat, and that it will not lean of foreign forces. And mutual recognition – how can it be that while the Palestinians demand that Israel recognize the Palestinian nation state, they refuse to recognize the Jewish nation state? The Jewish people has been around for almost 4,000 years. And why should a people like ours not deserve the have the right to our own nation state in our historic homeland recognized? Why is it so difficult to accept this simple historical fact?

My friends, the question is not why we raise this basic demand, but why our Palestinian neighbors insist decisively and consistently not to recognize such a logical demand? I do not raise this demand because we need our national identity ratified, but so that the Palestinians withdraw from all of their national demands of us, and a genuine agreement requires the end of all demands, including their national demands from the State of Israel. Recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people means completely abandoning the “right of return” and ending any other national demands over the land and sovereignty of the State of Israel. This is a crucial component for a genuine reconciliation and stable and durable peace.

I understand that the Palestinian Authority’s official media broadcasts that Palestine spans from Metula to Eilat and that an agreement with Israel will be signed without recognizing the nation state of the Jewish people. As I have said before on another subject: The first part is not true, and the second part will never happen.”

Members of Knesset, we are making a genuine effort, I want you all to know that. We are making a genuine effort to end the conflict between us and the Palestinians. I do not delude myself that it will be easy, but I am determined to try. But as I try, I will not give up on our national interests in order to get a favorable headline in a newspaper, or to receive accolades from the international community. These are temporary, but we must guard our vital interests forever, and so we shall.

Facing the tremendous tumults in our world, I tell you, Members of Knesset, that the State of Israel continues to be a great success story. More than ever, I am convinced that we will overcome all of the challenges that I mentioned: we will strengthen our national resilience, we will build our country, we will develop our economy and bring success, security and peace to the people in Zion.

Israel Musings October 10, 2013: PM Netanyahu refuses early Palestinian prisoners release after rise in attacks

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Netanyahu refuses early Palestinian prisoners release after rise in attacks (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused on Oct. 9, 2013 to release the second set of Palestinian prisoners before the scheduled date of Oct. 29, 2013 according to the peace talk’s preconditions; both the United States and Palestinians…READ MORE

Israel Musings October 10, 2013: Netanyahu names peace roadblocks in Bar-Ilan University speech

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Netanyahu names peace roadblocks in Bar-Ilan University speech (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a major address at Bar-Ilan University at the Israel Towards 2020 Conference at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies earlier in the week on Sunday evening, Oct. 6, 2013 aimed at identifying…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 6, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Israel Towards 2020 Conference at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies Bar-Ilan University

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Israel Towards 2020 Conference at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

Source: PMO, 10-6-13

יום ראשון ב’ חשון תשע”ד

Netanyahu speaking at Bar-Ilan University. Sunday, October 6, 2013.

Netanyahu speaking at Bar-Ilan University. Sunday, October 6, 2013. Photo by Amos ben Gershon / La’am

Translation

I recently read a hundred-page book by a wonderful American historian who passed away nearly 50 years ago. His name was Will Durant and he wrote many books. He wrote an eleven volume history of civilization, but at the end of his life, he wrote a hundred-page book, The Lessons of History. You should read it. Every line is carved from the stone of truth, and I will give you the bad news and the good news. The bad news is that when you finish reading this book, you understand that in history, greater numbers rule. They matter. But here is the good news. On page 17, if I am not mistaken, he mentions that there may be exceptions to this rule and that through the unification of a cultural force, that’s what he called it, the odds could be overcome. He gives the State of Israel as an example of such an exception. I think that we have proven in the 65 years of Israel’s existence that we are exceptional, but we must continue to be so, also by preserving our spiritual foundations. Two weeks ago, archaeologists found a gold medallion near the Western Wall. The archaeologists dated it to the beginning of the seventh century and there is a menorah on the medallion – our national symbol. On one side, a Torah scroll and on the other a shofar. The entire Torah on one medallion and of course, this was after 2,000 years of Jewish existence in the Land of Israel. This existence has lasted for nearly 4,000 years. Apparently there is something special about this exception of ours, in our unique combination of our past heritage and the way that we look to the future with our full force and talents and I would even say genius. There is no doubt that this university is part of our national and international effort to preserve our heritage and of course combine it with the future.

I thank you for your invitation to speak here, on the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Begin-Sadat Center. Many things have happened to us during those years. On the political front, we signed a peace agreement with Jordan. During all that time, exactly 20 years, we have been conducting negotiations with the Palestinians, trying to achieve a peace agreement, and despite ups and downs during these two decades, we managed to maintain the peace accords with Egypt. This is not insignificant. However, without a doubt, the most significant developments in the Middle East during this entire period are those of the past few years, and they overshadow all the rest when taking a broad view. Two of these developments include the historic unrest taking place in the Arab world – unrest that is at its height and far from over if such a thing can actually end; and of course Iran’s ongoing efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Iran’s goal is to take over the entire Middle East and beyond, and to destroy the State of Israel. This is not speculation; this is their goal.

Israel and the United States agree that Iran must be prevented from arming itself with nuclear weapons. Just days ago, the Iranian president said at the UN that Iran is only interested in civilian nuclear power. That’s what he said.

I do not believe him, but anyone interested in examining his statement should ask the Iranian regime one simple question – if you only want peaceful nuclear energy, why do you insist on centrifuges to enrich uranium and on plutonium reactors? Neither of these things is necessary to produce peaceful nuclear energy. There is no need for them; however they are the essential components for producing fissile material for nuclear weapons. This must be understood – they are not needed at all for peaceful purposes. Seventeen countries, including some of the leading countries in the world – Canada, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Indonesia with a quarter of a million people – and many others produce nuclear energy without centrifuges, without plutonium reactors.

Only someone who wants to produce fissile material for nuclear bombs insists on these components – not only insists, but is willing to inflict great suffering on his people because this insistence involves sanctions and dictates by the Security Council. Why do they do this? Perhaps they are lacking energy resources? They have gas and oil. I mention natural gas on purpose because it is immediately available for industry and for everything else. The have so many resources that they can provide for the needs of considerable areas of the world for many years with what they have, certainly for the needs of their own country. Therefore, the international community should take the following position vis-à-vis Iran – we are ready to reach a diplomatic resolution, but only one that dismantles Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons. In other words, no centrifuges or enriched uranium, no plutonium reactor. As long as Iran does not dismantle its centrifuges and plutonium reactors, the sanctions must not be eased at all. On the contrary, they should be increased. The truth is simple, it is clear, it cuts like a razor through the fog they are trying to create. If their intentions are peaceful, they will agree. If they are not peaceful, they will not agree. But perhaps the formula should be put simply as follows: they dismantle, they receive; they don’t dismantle, they don’t receive. And this is a difficult struggle because it is human nature to hope, to believe, to try – we are willing to try but not to conduct an open experiment without criteria and certainly not without a realistic and clear-sighted view.

Parallel with the attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear armament and preserve the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, we are interested in bringing the conflict with the Palestinians to an end. Achieving a genuine and secure peace, with real security and not just on paper but on the ground – for us, our children, our grandchildren – this is the greatest wish of all citizens of Israel. In order to bring about an end to the conflict, the root of the conflict must be understood.
I bring this up because, in my opinion, in all the discussions regarding the conflict with the Palestinians, at least one thing has been achieved and that is that whoever believed that it was the core of the conflict in the Middle East – well, now it is difficult to say such a thing without sounding absurd. It is not the core of the conflict – not what is happening in Libya or Tunisia or Algeria or Egypt or Yemen or Syria or Iraq and so on and so forth. But for years they told us that the core of the conflict in the Middle East was the Palestinian matter and… how shall I put this? That sacred cow is one of the victims of the Arab revolution.

However, there is a second sacred cow in equal measure. When people are asked what the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is – since if you want to provide a solution or fix a certain problem, first you must correctly diagnose the illness. Well, when asked what the root of the conflict is, people usually have an answer at the ready: the occupation, the territories, the settlements and so on – it is all the same. Israel “taking control of the territories”, the area of Judea and Samaria after the Six Day War, the settlements – this is what sustains the conflict, this is what created the conflict for the most part. And I ask, is it really?

In my opinion, if one must choose a process by which the conflict started in actual fact, I would set the date at 1921 on the day on which the Palestinian Arabs attacked the immigration hostel in Jaffa.

Many Jews were killed in this attack, including the well-known writer Y.H. Brenner. This attack was directed against Jewish immigration. My grandfather arrived in Jaffa, at that same hostel, the year before, as did many others. Clearly this attack was not about territory or settlements; it was against Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. Later there were more attacks: In 1929, the ancient Jewish community in Hebron was brutally slaughtered. It had existed there nearly uninterrupted for close to 4,000 years. After that, there were attacks in ’36, in ’39 – what they called unrest. These were repeated and methodical attacks against the Jewish community in Israel. Later on there was the Partition Plan of 1947, wherein it was proposed that there be an Arab state – they didn’t say Palestinian state, but rather Arab state – and a Jewish state. The Jews agreed, the Arabs refused. Because the matter was not at that time, nor is it today, the question of a Palestinian state, but rather was and remains, unfortunately, the Jewish state. And even before 1967, for 19 years, they had us in a chokehold; there was a stranglehold around us with the sole goal of uprooting us, of extinguishing our lives. What was that about? There were no territories then either. There was no occupation, unless Tel Aviv is occupied and Jaffa is occupied. There were no settlements for 46 years, from 1921 to 1967, nearly half a century. We were excoriated by the Arab public unrelated to settlements, unrelated to what is presented as the historic heart of the struggle. I say these things because I can – well, so it ended there, but later everything changed. Later on, events developed as they developed. We withdrew from Gaza, every last centimeter. We uprooted communities and the attacks against us continued – approximately 10,000 missiles were fired at us from Gazan territory, from territories from which we withdrew. And when we ask those who launch the missiles and those who stand behind them: why do you fire at Jews? They say: in order to free Palestine. And what is Palestine? Judea and Samaria? No. Of course, they are part of it, but they say: Beer Sheva and Ashkelon, Majdal and Acre and Jaffa. Fine, those who say such things belong to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but the more moderate elements in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority – it is true that they do not engage in terror and this is an important distinction. They do not engage in terror, but when they are asked to say: Well, do you recognize? Not in Judea and Samaria, not in the West Bank, but are you ready finally to recognize the Jewish state? They answer: We are prepared to recognize the Israeli people; we are ready to recognize Israel. I say, that is not the question I am asking: are you prepared to recognize the Jewish state, the nation state of the Jewish people? And the answer so far has been no. Why not?

During my speech here four years ago, I said that the solution is a demilitarized Palestinian state. The reason for demilitarization is clear to everyone in light of our experience – true and ongoing demilitarization with very clear security arrangements and no international forces. But a Jewish state – recognize the Jewish state. Why are you not willing to recognize the Jewish state? We are willing to recognize your nation state, and that is at great cost – it involves territories, our ancestral lands, which is not insignificant. And I say this as well – this is a very difficult thing. But you need to make a series of concessions too and the first concession is to give up your dream of the right of return. We will not be satisfied with recognition of the Israeli people or of some kind of binational state which will later be flooded by refugees. This is the nation state of the Jewish people. If they want, Jews immigrate to this country. Palestinian Arabs, if they want, will go there. Recognize the Jewish state. As long as you refuse to do so, there will never be peace. Recognize our right to live here in our own sovereign state, our nation state – only then will peace be possible.

I emphasize this here – this is an essential condition. There are other conditions important for concluding the negotiations – not for conducting negotiations, but for concluding them, but I mention this because the political process with the Palestinians involves resolving complicated problems. It will be deemed successful only if it is built on the foundations of truth, the truth of the present and historic truth and unfortunately, the truth that is under constant attack from our enemies and opponents. They try to undermine the ancient connection of our people with the Land of Israel and obfuscate the basic facts of the conflict between us and the Palestinians in the 20th century.

For example, several days ago, I heard Iran’s representative half-heartedly comment on the Nazi crimes – it is difficult for them to say Holocaust – but immediately he added vigorously that one shouldn’t allow the Zionists to take advantage of the Nazi crimes, i.e. the Holocaust, in order to harm the Palestinians. Iran’s representatives repeat time and again the familiar trope that the Holocaust occurred without any connection to the Palestinian question and only later the Zionist leaders came along and made use of the Holocaust to repress the Palestinians. Well, what are the facts? The undisputed leader of the Palestinian national movement in the first half of the 20th century was Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini. The Mufti was the living sprit behind those same attacks I described, from 1921 in Jaffa through the Second World War. All this is known, but here are some facts about the Mufti’s activities that are less well known:
On November 28, 1941, the Mufti flew to Berlin and met with Hitler. He expressed to Hitler his readiness to cooperate with Germany in any way. And he did so – both by recruiting Muslim fighters to join the ranks of the S.S. in the Balkans and by broadcasting propaganda for the Nazis.

Here is a typical example of the propaganda broadcast by the Mufti in 1942. I quote, “If England is defeated and its allies overwhelmed, it will provide a final solution to the Jewish question, which in our mind is the greatest danger”. Between 1942 and 1944, he worked from his base in Berlin and tried to prevent Jews from being saved – in Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia – countries which, despite being enslaved to Hitler, allowed the Jews to escape to the Land of Israel and other places. The Mufti protested to the Nazis that they hadn’t provided enough resources to prevent the escape of the refugee Jews from the Balkans. In his testimony at the Nuremberg Trials on August 6, 1947, the German commander Wilhelm Melchers said, “The Mufti made his protests known everywhere, in the Bureau of the Foreign Minister and the State Minister and in other headquarters of the S.S.” On May 13, 1943, for example, the Mufti submitted a letter to the Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop in which he objected to the understandings Germany made which allowed for the deportation of 4,000 Jewish children from Bulgaria. He asked to see, “everyone,” and I quote, “everyone wiped out”.

Eichmann’s deputy, Dieter Wisliceny, provided the following chilling testimony at Nuremberg: “The Mufti played a role in the decision to destroy the Jews of Europe. The importance of his role cannot be ignored. The Mufti repeatedly proposed to the authorities with whom he was in contact, first and foremost Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, to destroy the European Jews. He saw in that an appropriate solution to the Palestinian question”. Wisliceny even provided hearsay evidence that the Mufti was directly involved in the Final Solution. “The Mufti was one of the initiators of the methodical destruction of the Jews of Europe and was a partner and consultant to Eichmann and Hitler on how to execute the plan. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and constantly pushed him to speed up the destruction. With my own ears,” he said, “I heard him say that he visited the gas chambers of Auschwitz anonymously in the company of Eichmann”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As opposed to the things being said by Iran’s representatives and others, the Zionist leaders did not use the Holocaust to destroy the Palestinian national movement. On the contrary, the most senior Palestinian leader at the time, the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini preached and acted to implement the Holocaust in order to destroy the Zionist movement. It almost worked. European Jewry was indeed wiped out, in part because of the Mufti’s efforts, but Zionism was not wiped out and the State of Israel was established.
I mention these things here because these roots, this poisonous tumor, must be uprooted. The Mufti is still an admired figure in the Palestinian national movement. Go look at websites, go to schools, look at schoolbooks. This is the tumor that must be removed, this is the root of the conflict, this is what keeps it alive and the root of the conflict was and remains that which has been repeated for over 90 years – the profound objection by the hard core of Palestinians to the right of the Jewish people to its own country in the Land of Israel. In order for the current process to be significant, in order for it to have a real chance for success, it is essential that we finally hear from the Palestinian leadership that it recognizes the right of the Jewish people to its own country, the State of Israel. I very much hope that it will happen so that we can move toward a real resolution of the conflict.

There are many other subjects that we will of course have to resolve during the negotiations. First and foremost, there must be a real and sustainable solution to Israel’s security needs in the unstable and dangerous region in which live, because even if we do achieve this recognition, after years of incitement that still continues, we have no assurance that this recognition will filter down into all levels of Palestinian society and that is why we need very solid security arrangements, so that we will be able to defend the peace and defend ourselves if the peace is violated. This is a realistic and responsible approach, one that is ready to move forward but not blindly.

This reminds me of another issue. I think an essential condition for reaching a genuine resolution clearly was and remains the reversal of the refusal to recognize the right of the Jews to a nation state of their own in the land of their ancestors and this too is the most important key to resolving the conflict, recognition of this right.
I believe in the power of the people of Israel and I believe in the power of the State of Israel. What we have accomplished over the last 65 years is indeed wondrous. Today we mark 40 years since the Yom Kippur War. In the ensuing 40 years, the population of Israel has increased two-and-a-half fold. Israel’s GNP has increased 25 times. That is like taking 25 economies of the State of Israel and placing them side by side. We can mark achievements in all fields – in immigrant absorption, immigration, technology, freeing up the economy, developing the Negev and the Galilee, in the cyber city we are building in Beer Sheva, in the biotech city which will be established now in Safed, which is rising before our very eyes.
These are tremendous things. We did not wait for our neighbors in order to develop our country. We continue to do so. There is a connection between the two things – as long as we continue to grow our power, as long as we fortify our country, as long as we build our economy, as long as we strengthen our society, as long as we are strong – there is a chance that this change will also occur among our neighbors. We cannot give up on this – it is essential for safeguarding our future and ensuring our safety.

Thank you.

Israel Musings October 4, 2013: Israeli PM Netanyahu, the voice of reason on Iran in UN General Assembly speech

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Israeli PM Netanyahu, the voice of reason on Iran in UN General Assembly speech (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage as the concluding world leader to speak at the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Oct. 1, 2013 to warn the world against the threat Iran still holds…READ MORE

Israel Musings October 4, 2013: Netanyahu meets with Obama over Iran nuclear weapons and peace talks

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Netanyahu meets with Obama over Iran nuclear weapons and peace talks (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As part of a week-long diplomatic mission to the United States on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, where they primarily discussed Iran’s…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 1, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s United Nations General Assembly Speech Warning about Iran’s Charm Offensive, Nuclear Weapons & Diplomacy

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Transcript of Netanyahu’s UN General Assembly speech

Focusing on Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli prime minister strikes defiant tone: ‘If Israel is forced to stand alone, it will;’ says Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state to achieve peace.

Source: Haaretz, 10-1-13

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Thank you, Mr. President.

I feel deeply honored and privileged to stand here before you today representing the citizens of the state of Israel. We are an ancient people. We date back nearly 4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have journeyed through time. We’ve overcome the greatest of adversities.

And we re-established our sovereign state in our ancestral homeland, the land of Israel.

Now, the Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.

Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction. But I want you to know, that wasn’t always the case. Some 2,500 years ago the great Persian king Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. That’s a Persian decree. And thus began an historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.

But in 1979 a radical regime in Tehran tried to stamp out that friendship. As it was busy crushing the Iranian people’s hope for democracy, it always led wild chants of “death of the Jews.”

Now, since that time, presidents of Iran have come and gone. Some presidents were considered moderates, other hard-liners. But they’ve all served that same unforgiving creed, that same unforgiving regime, that creed that is espoused and enforced by the real power in Iran, the dictator known as the supreme leader, first Ayatollah Khomeini and now Ayatollah Khamenei.

President Rohani, like the presidents who came before him, is a loyal servant of the regime. He was one of only six candidates the regime permitted to run for office. See, nearly 700 other candidates were rejected.

So what made him acceptable? Well, Rohani headed Iran’s Supreme National Security Council from 1989 through 2003. During that time Iran’s henchmen gunned down opposition leaders in a Berlin restaurant. They murdered 85 people at the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. They killed 19 American soldiers by blowing up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

Are we to believe that Rohani, the national security adviser of Iran at the time, knew nothing about these attacks?

Of course he did, just as 30 years ago Iran’s security chiefs knew about the bombings in Beirut that killed 241 American Marines and 58 French paratroopers.

Rohani was also Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005. He masterminded the — the strategy which enabled Iran to advance its nuclear weapons program behind a smoke screen of diplomatic engagement and very soothing rhetoric.

Now I know: Rohani doesn’t sound like Ahmadinejad. But when it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Rohani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the eyes — the wool over the eyes of the international community.

Well, like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rohani’s words, but we must focus on Iran’s actions. And it’s the brazen contrast, this extraordinary contradiction, between Rohani’s words and Iran’s actions that is so startling. Rohani stood at this very podium last week and praised Iranian democracy — Iranian democracies. But the regime that he represents executes political dissidents by the hundreds and jails them by the thousands.

Rohani spoke of, quote, “the human tragedy in Syria.” Yet, Iran directly participates in Assad’s murder and massacre of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Syria. And that regime is propping up a Syrian regime that just used chemical weapons against its own people.

Rohani condemned the, quote, “violent scourge of terrorism.” Yet, in the last three years alone, Iran has ordered, planned or perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 cities in five continents.

Rohani denounces, quote, “attempts to change the regional balance through proxies.” Yet, Iran is actively destabilizing Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and many other Middle Eastern countries.

Rohani promises, quote, “constructive engagement with other countries.” Yet, two years ago, Iranian agents tried to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington, D.C. And just three weeks ago, an Iranian agent was arrested trying to collect information for possible attacks against the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Some constructive engagement.

I wish I could be moved by Rohani’s invitation to join his wave — a world against violence and extremism. Yet, the only waves Iran has generated in the last 30 years are waves of violence and terrorism that it has unleashed in the region and across the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I could believe Rohani, but I don’t because facts are stubborn things, and the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rohani’s soothing rhetoric.

Last Friday Rohani assured us that in pursuit of its nuclear program, Iran — this is a quote — Iran has never chosen deceit and secrecy, never chosen deceit and secrecy. Well, in 2002 Iran was caught red-handed secretly building an underground centrifuge facility in Natanz. And then in 2009 Iran was again caught red-handed secretly building a huge underground nuclear facility for uranium enrichment in a mountain near Qom.

Rohani tells us not to worry. He assures us that all of this is not intended for nuclear weapons. Any of you believe that? If you believe that, here’s a few questions you might want to ask. Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful nuclear energy, why would such a country build hidden underground enrichment facilities?

Why would a country with vast natural energy reserves invest billions in developing nuclear energy? Why would a country intent on merely civilian nuclear programs continue to defy multiple Security Council resolutions and incur the tremendous cost of crippling sanctions on its economy?

And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads? You don’t build ICBMs to carry TNT thousands of miles away; you build them for one purpose, to carry nuclear warheads. And Iran is building now ICBMs that the United States says could reach this city in three or four years.

Why would they do all this? The answer is simple. Iran is not building a peaceful nuclear program; Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Last year alone, Iran enriched three tons of uranium to 3 1/2 percent, doubled it stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium and added thousands of new centrifuges, including advanced centrifuges. It also continued work on the heavy water reactor in Iraq; that’s in order to have another route to the bomb, a plutonium path. And since Rohani’s election — and I stress this — this vast and feverish effort has continued unabated.

Ladies and gentlemen, underground nuclear facilities, heavy water reactors, advanced centrifuges, ICMBs. See, it’s not that it’s hard to find evidence that Iran has a nuclear program, a nuclear weapons program; it’s hard to find evidence that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program.

Last year when I spoke here at the UN I drew a red line. Now, Iran has been very careful not to cross that line but Iran is positioning itself to race across that line in the future at a time of its choosing. Iran wants to be in a position to rush forward to build nuclear bombs before the international community can detect it and much less prevent it.

Yet Iran faces one big problem, and that problem can be summed up in one word: sanctions. I have argued for many years, including on this podium, that the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat. And that policy today is bearing fruit. Thanks to the efforts of many countries, many represented here, and under the leadership of the United States, tough sanctions have taken a big bite off the Iranian economy.

Oil revenues have fallen. The currency has plummeted. Banks are hard-pressed to transfer money. So as a result, the regime is under intense pressure from the Iranian people to get the sanctions relieved or removed.

That’s why Rohani got elected in the first place. That’s why he launched his charm offensive. He definitely wants to get the sanctions lifted; I guarantee you that. But he doesn’t want to give up Iranians’ nuclear – Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return.

Now here’s a strategy to achieve this. First, smile a lot. Smiling never hurts. Second, pay lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance. Third, offer meaningless concessions in exchange for lifting sanctions. And fourth, and the most important, ensure that Iran retains sufficient nuclear material and sufficient nuclear infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time it chooses to do so.

You know why Rohani thinks he can get away with this? I mean, this is a ruse. It’s a ploy. Why does Rohani think he – thinks he can get away with it? Because – because he’s gotten away with it before, because his strategy of talking a lot and doing little has worked for him in the past.

He even brags about this. Here’s what he said in his 2011 book about his time as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, and I quote: “While we were talking to the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in Isfahan.”

Now, for those of you who don’t know, the Isfahan facility is an indispensable part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. That’s where uranium ore called yellowcake is converted into an enrichable form. Rohani boasted, and I quote, “By creating a calm environment – a calm environment – we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.” He fooled the world once. Now he thinks he can fool it again.

You see, Rohani thinks he can have his yellowcake and eat it too. And he has another reason to believe that he can get away with this. And that reason is called North Korea. Like Iran, North Korea also said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Like Iran, North Korea also offered meaningless concessions and empty promises in return for sanctions relief.

In 2005 North Korea agreed to a deal that was celebrated the world over by many well-meaning people. Here’s what the New York Times editorial had to say about it, quote: “For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as the ultimate nightmare, a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an aggressive nuclear weapons program. Very few could envision a successful outcome, and yet North Korea agreed in principle this week to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the NPT, abide by the treaty’s safeguards and admit international inspectors.”

And finally, “diplomacy, it seems, does work after all. Ladies and gentlemen, a year later, North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapons device.”

Yet, as dangerous as a nuclear-armed North Korea is, it pales in comparison to the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. A nuclear-armed Iran would have a choke hold on the world’s main energy supplies. It would trigger nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East, turning the most unstable part of the planet into a nuclear tinderbox. And for the first time in history, it would make the specter of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger. A nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East wouldn’t be another North Korea. It would be another 50 North Koreas.

Now, I know that some in the international community think I’m exaggerating this threat. Sure, they know that Iran’s regime leads these chants, “death to America, death to Israel,” that it pledges to wipe Israel off the map. But they think that this wild rhetoric is just bluster for domestic consumption. Have these people learned nothing from history? The last century has taught us that when a radical regime with global ambitions gets awesome power, sooner or later its appetite for aggression knows no bounds.

That’s the central lesson of the 20th century. And we cannot forget it. The world may have forgotten this lesson. The Jewish people have not.

Iran’s fanaticism is not bluster. It’s real. The fanatic regime must never be allowed to arm itself with nuclear weapons. I know that the world is weary of war. We in Israel, we know all too well the cost of war. But history has taught us that to prevent war tomorrow, we must be firm today.

And this raises the question, can diplomacy stop this threat? Well, the only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future.

President Obama rightly said that Iran’s conciliatory words must be matched by transparent, verifiable and meaningful action. And to be meaningful, a diplomatic solution would require Iran to do four things. First, cease all uranium enrichment. This is called for by several Security Council resolutions. Second, remove from Iran’s territory the stockpiles of enriched uranium. Third, dismantle the infrastructure for nuclear breakout capability, including the underground facility at Qom and the advanced centrifuges in Natanz.

And, four, stop all work at the heavy water reactor in Iraq aimed at the production of plutonium. These steps would put an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program and eliminate its breakout capability.

There are those who would readily agreed to leave Iran with a residual capability to enrich uranium. I advise them to pay close attention to what Rohani said in his speech to Iran’s supreme cultural revolution — Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council. This was published in 2005. I quote. This is what he said:

“A county that could enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90 percent. Having fuel cycle capability virtually means that a country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons.” Precisely. This is why Iran’s nuclear weapons program must be fully and verifiably dismantled. And this is why the pressure on Iran must continue.

So here is what the international community must do: First, keep up the sanctions. If Iran advances its nuclear weapons program during negotiations, strengthen the sanctions.

Second, don’t agree to a partial deal. A partial deal would lift international sanctions that have taken years to put in place in exchange for cosmetic concessions that will take only weeks for Iran to reverse.

Third, lift the sanctions only when Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons program. My friends, the international community has Iran on the ropes. If you want to knock out Iran’s nuclear weapons program peacefully, don’t let up the pressure. Keep it up.

We all want to give diplomacy with Iran a chance to succeed, but when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance. Three decades ago, President Ronald Reagan famously advised, “trust but verify.” When it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, here’s my advice: Distrust, dismantle and verify.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself.

I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet, in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.

The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.

Israel welcomes engagement with the wider Arab world. We hope that our common interests and common challenges will help us forge a more peaceful future. And Israel’s — continues to seek an historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all. We want peace based on security and mutual recognition, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving an historic reconciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Now, I have no illusions about how difficult this will be to achieve. Twenty years ago, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began. Six Israeli prime ministers, myself included, have not succeeded at achieving peace with the Palestinians. My predecessors were prepared to make painful concessions. So am I. But so far the Palestinian leaders haven’t been prepared to offer the painful concessions they must make in order to end the conflict.

For peace to be achieved, the Palestinians must finally recognize the Jewish state, and Israel’s security needs must be met.

I am prepared to make an historic compromise for genuine and enduring peace, but I will never compromise on the security of my people and of my country, the one and only Jewish state.

Ladies and gentlemen, one cold day in the late 19th century, my grandfather Nathan and his younger brother Judah were standing in a railway station in the heart of Europe. They were seen by a group of anti-Semitic hoodlums who ran towards them waving clubs, screaming “Death to the Jews.”

My grandfather shouted to his younger brother to flee and save himself, and he then stood alone against the raging mob to slow it down. They beat him senseless, they left him for dead, and before he passed out, covered in his own blood, he said to himself “What a disgrace, what a disgrace. The descendants of the Macabees lie in the mud powerless to defend themselves.”

He promised himself then that if he lived, he would take his family to the Jewish homeland and help build a future for the Jewish people. I stand here today as Israel’s prime minister because my grandfather kept that promise.

And so many other Israelis have a similar story, a parent or a grandparent who fled every conceivable oppression and came to Israel to start a new life in our ancient homeland. Together we’ve transformed a bludgeoned Jewish people, left for dead, into a vibrant, thriving nation, a defending itself with the courage of modern Maccabees, developing limitless possibilities for the future.

In our time the Biblical prophecies are being realized. As the prophet Amos said, they shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine. They shall till gardens and eat their fruit. And I will plant them upon their soil never to be uprooted again.

[Repeates paragraph in Hebrew.]

Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.

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