Full Text Israel Political Brief November 14, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement after the Terrorist Attacks in Paris

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Statement after the Terrorist Attacks in Paris

Source: PMO, 11-14-15
PM Netanyahu’s Statement after the Terrorist Attacks in Paris
Photo by Kobi Gideon, GPO Click Here to Enlarge Picture
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, issued the following statement regarding the terrorist attacks in Paris:

“On behalf of the people and Government of Israel, I extend our deepest sympathies to the people of France and to the families of those who were brutally murdered in Paris last night. We also extend our wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded.

Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with France in this common battle against militant Islamic terrorism. I’ve instructed Israel’s security and intelligence forces to assist their French counterparts and their counterparts from other European countries in any way possible.

Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians. It can never be justified. Terrorism must always be condemned. It must always be fought. Innocent people in Paris, like those in London, Madrid, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, are the victims of militant Islamic terrorism, not its cause. As I’ve said for many years, militant Islamic terrorism attacks our societies because it wants to destroy our civilization and our values.

I call on the entire civilized world to unite to defeat the plague of worldwide terrorism. An attack on any one of us should be seen as an attack on all of us. All terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination. It’s only with this moral clarity that the forces of civilization will defeat the savagery of terrorism.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 21, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin Remarks Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Source: PMO, 9-21-15

Photo by Avi Ohayon, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Following are their remarks at the start of the meeting:

Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I know that in Israel you recently celebrated the New Year. I would like to welcome you. Tomorrow evening, on the eve of Yom Kippur, the fast begins. I would like to welcome you and wish you all the best.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“I thank you Mr. President for your greetings and I also congratulate Russia on its day of celebration. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak to you. Israel and Russia share a common interest to ensure stability in the Middle East. And I am here because of the security situation which is becoming ever more complex on our northern border.

As you know, in recent years, and particularly in recent months, Iran and Syria have been arming the extremist Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah with advanced weapons, aimed at us, and over the years thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired against our cities. At the same time, Iran, under the auspices of the Syrian army, is attempting to build a second terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights.

Our policy is to prevent these weapons transfers, and to prevent the creation of a terrorist front and attacks on us from the Golan Heights. Under these circumstances, I thought it was very important that I come here, also to clarify our policies, and to make sure that there is no misunderstanding between our forces.

And I must say something else, both from a personal standpoint and from a national one – in all of the relations between us, whether I agreed and also when we differed, our discourse has always been conducted with mutual respect and openness. I am certain that it will be this time as well.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“And so it will be Prime Minister. Let there be no doubt about this. We have never forgotten that in the State of Israel live very many emigres from the former USSR. This has a special effect on our bilateral relations. All of Russia’s actions in the region will always be very responsible. We are aware of the shelling against Israel and we condemn all such shelling.

I know that these shellings are carried out by internal elements. In regard to Syria, we know that the Syrian army is in a situation such that it is incapable of opening a new front. Our main goal is to defend the Syrian state. However, I understand your concern and I am very pleased that you have come here to discuss all issues in detail.”

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Following his Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and made the following remarks after their meeting:

“The conversation revolved, first of all, on the issue that I raised regarding Syria, which is very important to the security of Israel. The conversation was substantive. A joint mechanism for preventing misunderstandings between our forces was also agreed to.

The second issue that I raised is good news for very many Israelis who are waiting on a pension from Russia. President Putin said that he would seek to advance the issue soon.

He knows that depends on a Russian budgetary outlay but he is determined to do this and he is looking to move forward and conclude this. Of course, I expressed my appreciation; this is important. This will do justice for many people who are waiting and hoping for this moment, and I hope that we will be able to announce its implementation soon.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu added:

“I would say that the importance of preventing misunderstandings is very big. Israel is constantly working to prevent the transfer of advanced and deadly weaponry from Syrian territory to Hezbollah. Israel is not prepared to accept a second terrorist front that Iran is trying build on the Golan Heights.

Israel is taking action and when it does so it is important for everyone, including Russia, to know how we are taking action. It is no less important in order to prevent misunderstandings, and it is worthwhile to do so before they occur and not afterward. Therefore, I asked IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, GOC Intelligence, and of course my Military Secretary, to join me in order to clarify things, first of all the facts, secondly our military and security policy, and third to really try to establish that same mechanism for preventing misunderstandings.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 10, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with British PM David Cameron Remarks Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Meets with British PM David Cameron

Source: PMO, 9-10-15

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of his meeting in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron:

“I look forward to discussing with you everything you mentioned – three specific areas; First security. The Middle East is disintegrating under the twin forces of militant Islam: The militant Sunnis led by ISIS and the militant Shiites led by Iran. And I believe that we can cooperate in practical ways to roll back the tide of militant Islam both in the Middle East and in Africa altogether.

Secondly, and no less important, peace. I want to say here in 10 Downing Street, and reaffirm again that I am ready to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians with no conditions whatsoever to enter negotiations, and I’m willing to do so immediately.

The third point is technology – the future belongs to those who innovate. Britain and Israel are two great centers of technology. Israel is a global hub of innovation, especially in cyber security. And I think that if we pool our resources together we can offer a better future and great prosperity.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 3, 2015: President Reuven Rivlin welcomed to Vatican meets Pope Francis

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

President Rivlin welcomed to Vatican

Source: MFA, 9-3-15


The President expressed his distress over the wave of anti-Semitism which has swept the world. The Pope agreed with the President on the issue, noting that those who seek to threaten Israel’s existence are rooted in anti-Semitism.
President Rivlin meets with Pope Francis
Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Thursday, September 3) visited the Vatican and held a private meeting with Pope Francis. He was welcomed to the Vatican in an official reception which included a traditional honor guard of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard and then received by Prefect of the Papal Household, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, before going on to hold a private meeting with Pope Francis. Afterwards President Rivlin met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 29, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi

Source: PMO, 8-29-15

Italy, Benjamin Netanyahu
Our common civilization today is under threat from militant Islam and the savagery of the Islamic State of ISIS. But I believe that a far more serious threat is posed by the Islamic State of Iran, and specifically its pursuit of nuclear weapons.


PM Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi
PM Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi
Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Saturday, 29 August 2015), met with Italian Prime Matteo Renzi and told him at the start of their meeting:

Thank you, my good friend Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

I want to thank you for the extraordinary hospitality you’ve shown me and my wife and my delegation. And I have to tell you that your visit to Israel made a great impression. All the people of Israel were moved by your historic speech in the Knesset. I’ve heard many speeches in the Knesset. Yours was one of the exceptional ones that touched on basic truths that bind our two countries and our common civilization.

Equally, I was enormously impressed by my visit to the Milan Expo. It’s a testament to the creativity of the people of Italy and to your leadership. And I look forward to discussing with you this evening how we can further expand the cooperation between Israel and Italy in technology, in agriculture, in culture and science, in fighting terrorism, in security and stability for our world.

There is a simple rule that is absolutely critical for the future of our societies. The future belongs to those who innovate.

Italy has always been at the forefront of creativity. You only need to stand in this amazing hall next to the paintings of Vasari and the statues of Michelangelo to understand how creative and how powerful Italy has been over the centuries and today.

Israel in turn is a global hub of technology. And I think that together we can innovate more than separate, both for the benefit of our two peoples, but also for the benefit of other peoples. Specifically we discussed in Israel and I hope we’ll continue this tonight, how we can expand our cooperation in African countries that yearn for our expertise.

It’s a great pleasure for me to visit you in your home town of Florence. I think the first time we met, you came as Mayor of Florence, and Florence is clearly one of the world’s most magnificent cities. It has left an indelible mark on our common civilization.

That civilization today is under threat from militant Islam. The savagery of the Islamic State of ISIS captures the world’s attention, and justifiably so.

But I believe that a far more serious threat is posed by another Islamic state, the Islamic State of Iran, and specifically its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Let me make clear, Matteo, that Israel doesn’t oppose a civilian nuclear program in Iran. We oppose a military nuclear program in Iran.

And regrettably, the deal with Iran allows it to keep and expand a formidable nuclear infrastructure that is completely unnecessary for civilian nuclear purposes, but is entirely necessary for the production of nuclear weapons. The deal will give Iran within 13 years the ability to make as many centrifuges as they want, enrich as much uranium as they want to whatever level that they want. And this will put the Iranian Islamic state that practices terrorism worldwide, it will put it on the threshold of an entire nuclear arsenal.

But well before that, Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars of sanctions relief and investments to fuel its aggression and terrorism in the Middle East, in North Africa and beyond that. I think that this will make Iran far richer and far stronger militarily, and it will make it far more difficult to confront its nuclear ambitions in the future.

Prime Minister, Matteo, today your country and all of Europe face a wave of increasing illegal immigration. Thousands upon thousands flee the horrors of militant Islamic terrorism in Libya, across the Middle East and in Africa. This is a great tragedy and a great challenge.

We both want to see greater security in the Mediterranean region and beyond. We are committed to building a better world where our children can enjoy peace and prosperity. And I believe this is what the people of Israel and the people of Italy expect from us both. And this is what we shall discuss in the spirit of the wonderful and growing friendship between us. I believe we can help each other. I believe we can help Italy and Israel. I believe that together, we can help the world.

And I want to thank you once again for…well, it’s a warm friendship and a warm greeting. I didn’t expect it to be this warm, but it is extraordinary and your city is extraordinary. Thank you, thank you, Matteo, and thank you all. Thank you.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 4, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Appoints Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Appoints Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy

Source: PMO, 8-10-15
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy. She is a former member of the Italian Parliament, a member of European Friends of Israel and a founding member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. In 2011, she was elected Chairperson of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians.

She has published ten books in Italian and two in English. She moved to Israel in 2013 and received Israeli citizenship. Upon her appointment as Ambassador to Italy, she will renounce her Italian citizenship.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I am convinced that Fiamma Nirenstein will bring with her to the position her considerable diplomatic and political experience, and will succeed in deepening relations between Israel and Italy, our close friend, including in the diplomatic, economic, cultural and security spheres. The connection between Jerusalem and Rome is over 2,000 years old. I am pleased to send Fiamma Nirenstein to strengthen this link.”

Fiamma Nirenstein: “I am happy to accept this mission that the Prime Minister has set before me, to strengthen relations between Israel and Italy. I promised the Prime Minister that I would do everything in my ability to strengthen the brave links between the two countries.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 26, 2015: Israeli response to Vatican recognition of Palestinian Authority as a state

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israeli response to Vatican recognition of PA as a state

Source: MFA, 6-26-15

Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its regret regarding the Vatican decision to officially recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state, in the agreement signed on Friday (June 26, 2015). This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement and harms the international effort to convince the PA to return to direct negotiations with Israel.

We also regret the one-sided texts in the agreement which ignore the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Jerusalem. Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

Israel will study the agreement in detail, and its implications for future cooperation between Israel and the Vatican.

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 22, 2015: Israeli response to the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israeli response to the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry

Source: MFA, 6-22-15
It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted. This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate.
The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects – The Full Report

Israel is studying the Commission of Inquiry Report (COI) from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC). However, some initial comments can be made about the COI process in general:

1) It is well known that the entire process that led to the production of this report was politically motivated and morally flawed from the outset. Just as Israel seriously considered every complaint, no matter its origin, it will also seriously study this report. We take note of the fact that the authors of this report admitted that they lacked much of the relevant information.

It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted.

2) This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate, and initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson, William Schabas. The UNHRC has a singular obsession with Israel, passing more country specific resolutions against Israel than against Syria, Iran and North Korea combined – in fact, more than against all other countries combined. The commission of inquiry’s mandate presumed Israel guilty from the start and its original chairman, William Schabas, was compelled to resign due to a blatant conflict of interest (paid work for the Palestinians), which he concealed from the United Nations.

3) The COI also lacked the necessary tools and expertise to conduct a professional and serious examination of armed conflict situations.

Israel will consider the report in light of these essential failings. It would encourage all fair-minded observers to do the same.

4) Israel is a democracy committed to the rule of law, forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists who commit a double war crime: They indiscriminately target Israeli civilians while deliberately endangering Palestinian civilians, including children, by using them as human shields.

5) In defending itself against attacks, Israel’s military acted according to the highest international standards. This was confirmed by a comprehensive examination by Israeli military and legal experts, as well as reports produced by internationally renowned military professionals.

6) Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the law of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies. Israel will continue to investigate alleged wrongdoing in accordance with international standards and to cooperate with those UN bodies that conduct themselves in an objective, fair and professional manner.
See: The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects – THE FULL REPORT

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 22, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry report

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statement by PM Netanyahu on the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry report

Source: MFA, 6-22-15
Israel does not commit war crimes. Israel is defending itself from a murderous terrorist organization that calls for its destruction and which has perpetrated many war crimes. We will not sit, and have not sat, idly by.
Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the laws of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies, and it will continue to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with highest international standards.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 22 June 2015), at the Knesset, issued the following statement:
“The report on Operation Protective Edge issued by the commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council is biased. The commission that wrote this report was appointed by a council that calls itself the ‘Human Rights Council.’ In effect, it does everything but look after human rights. This is a body that condemns Israel more than Iran, Syria and North Korea combined. It first appointed to head the commission a man who was caught inciting against the State of Israel and who also took money from the Palestinians. It first began to investigate events in the region from the day after – the day after – the kidnapping of the three youths, who were murdered. It is on this basis that one needs to consider its findings, conclusions and recommendations.
Israel is defending itself and is doing so in accordance with international law. We are not the only ones who say this. Last week we issued a detailed, professional report that evaluated our actions, in accordance with international law, against terrorists that fire at civilians and hide behind civilians. This is also backed up by the report issued by senior US and European generals who claimed, and reached the conclusion, that Israel defended itself in accordance with the standards of international law. But they say, ‘above and beyond’. One of the senior generals said that there is no country that acted like the State of Israel and went beyond the letter of the law to observe international law.
Israel does not commit war crimes. Israel is defending itself from a murderous terrorist organization that calls for its destruction and which has perpetrated many war crimes. Any country that wants to live would have acted this way. But the commission expects a country, the citizens of which have been attacked by thousands of missiles, to sit idly by. We will not sit, and have not sat, idly by. We will continue to take strong and determined action against all those who try to attack us and our citizens, and we will do so in accordance with international law.”

* * *
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement today (Monday, 22 June 2015):
“Israel is a democracy committed to the rule of law. Time and again it is forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists who commit a double war crime: They deliberately target civilians while deliberately hiding behind Palestinian civilians. The Palestinian civilians they use as human shields include children, and they deliberately target our civilians while deliberately putting their civilians in harm’s way.
In defending itself against such attacks, Israel’s military acted, and acts, according to the highest international standards.
The report in hand was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution; it was given an obviously biased mandate; it was initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson who received money from the Palestinians and was forced to resign.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has a singular obsession with Israel. It has passed more resolutions against Israel than against Syria, North Korea and Iran combined. In fact, it has passed more resolutions against Israel that against all the countries of the world combined.
So, Israel treats this report as flawed and biased, and it urges all fair-minded observers to do the same. Such fair-minded observers recently investigated Israel’s conduct in the Gaza campaign. They include senior generals from the United States and NATO countries. They found that not only did Israel uphold the highest standards of international law, in the laws of armed conflict, they said that Israel exceeded the highest standards.
Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the laws of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies, and it will continue to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with highest international standards.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 21, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu remarks meeting with French FM Fabius rejects France’s Palestinian peace initiative

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu meets with French FM Fabius

Source: MFA, 6-21-15

Peace will only come from direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. It will not come from UN resolutions that are sought to be imposed from the outside. President Abbas believes he can avoid such direct negotiations.
PM Netanyahu meets with French FM Fabius

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 21 June 2015), met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and told him at the start of their meeting:

“Mr. Foreign Minister, the history of the French and Jewish people is long and interconnected. It was the French Revolution that brought about the emancipation of French Jews, and it gained them full civic rights. And Jews began to participate in French life in all areas: In culture and literature, in economics, in politics. We were inspired in many ways by the principles of ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité.’ Theodor Herzl and the founding fathers of Zionism drew much inspiration from the experience of France.

France was also our closest ally in the formative years of the state. We will never forget the crucial support that was offered to us in times of need. And I believe today France also has a crucial role to play. We urge France to stand firm and prevent a bad deal that will pave Iran’s path to the bomb.

The new US State Department report on Iranian involvement in terrorism is another wake-up call. Iran’s subversion and aggression is rampant, both in and beyond the Middle East. Its terror network now encompasses over 30 countries in many continents. And under the imminent nuclear agreement, Iran will not only receive a clear path to nuclear weapons, it will also receive many, many billions of dollars, enabling it to upgrade its terrorism worldwide and of course its aggression in the region.

Mr. Minister, today in Jerusalem a Palestinian terrorist brutally stabbed a policeman. On Friday a Palestinian terrorist shot dead an Israeli citizen. Not only has the Palestinian Authority refused to condemn these acts of violence, it continues unabashedly with its campaign of incitement against Israel and Israel’s civilians. Official Palestinian propagation of violence and hatred are par for the course. It must be unequivocally condemned by all those who seek to advance peace.

Six years ago at Bar-Ilan University I laid out my vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. In this vision, a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state. And while I place no conditions on entering talks, I know that the twin foundations of peace are mutual recognition and security. Mutual recognition means that the Palestinians must finally recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. I find it frankly inconceivable that while the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian nation-state, they refuse to accord us the same privilege, recognizing a Jewish nation-state. And if they continue to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state, what kind of peace are they offering us?

I think the other pillar, the need for security, is self-evident for anyone that follows developments in this region. The Middle East is undergoing a period of unprecedented volatility and violence. States that have existed for almost a century are disintegrating before our eyes. And Islamist extremists are rushing to fill up the vacuum. ISIS leads the Sunni radicals. Iran heads the Shiite militants. And Israel faces terrorist armies amassed on our borders in the North and in the South.

A peace that isn’t anchored in iron-clad security arrangements on the ground, in which Israel can defend itself, such a peace will simply not survive and we will not agree to it. Our concerns are not pretexts or excuses. They are genuine. A peace deal that ignores these realities will be swept away by the winds of extremism and violence that blow throughout the Middle East.

Mr. Foreign Minister, peace will only come from direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. It will not come from UN resolutions that are sought to be imposed from the outside. President Abbas believes he can avoid such direct negotiations. He wants to avoid the give and take of negotiations. And why does he go that route? Because even though the Palestinians ran away from the negotiations again and again and again, it is Israel that is being blamed.

Last year, the Palestinians slammed the door on Secretary Kerry’s framework for negotiations. They slammed the door on Prime Minister Barak. They slammed the door on Prime Minister Sharon. They slammed the door on Prime Minister Olmert. They slammed the door on me.

They attempt to impose terms on Israel, but they will fail. And this attempt will not merely fail, it will drive peace away. First, Israel will resist the imposition of terms from the outside. And second, the Palestinians will never agree to negotiate if they think the international community will give them what they want without negotiations. I think there is no magic shortcut. Peace demands a commitment to direct negotiations without preconditions. Peace demands a sustained effort to overcome obstacles. I am ready for such an effort.”

The Prime Minister also said: “We’ve been informed by the Government of Egypt that it is dispatching an ambassador to Israel. This is an important piece of news. We appreciate it. It’s something that has been, that is deeply welcomed in Israel and I think it’s very good for cementing the peace that exists between Egypt and Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2015: President Reuven Rivlin eulogizes victims of Paris attack at Jerusalem Funeral — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

President Rivlin eulogizes victims of Paris attack

Source: MFA, 1-13-15
MFASummaryNew

Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe.

At the funeral ceremony today (13 January 2015) in Jerusalem, President Rivlin eulogized the victims of the terror attack on the kosher market in Paris:
“Dear families, Yoav, Yohan, Philippe, Francois-Michel, this is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel. This is not how we wanted you to arrive in the Land of Israel, this is not how we wanted to see you come home, to the State of Israel, and to Jerusalem, its capital. We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life.
At moments such as these, I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation.
Phillipe, you wanted to shop for the Sabbath, and what is more Jewish than preparing, shopping on a Friday, for the holy Sabbath day.
“My father is a hero”, wept Rafael, your son. “He was murdered, simply because he was a Jew.” What can we say to your dear wife Philippe? What can we say to your three young children, whose cries of ‘Daddy’ will be met with silence?
Francois-Michel, the apartment that you bought here in Israel, was ready for your arrival. You so wanted to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel), to live here with us. But you will never now be able to affix a mezuzah upon the doorpost of your home in Israel. “What man is there, who has built a new house and has not yet inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in battle,” as it is written in the Torah. But for you, the war came to you, and the murderer’s hand destroyed everything.
Yoav, you were here, just two weeks ago in Jerusalem, for the first time. You stood at the Western Wall, you were photographed wrapped in the Israeli flag. Today, you are here for the second, and the final time. As a Jewish hero, at one with us.
Yohan, you could have got away, escaped, you could have run – but you did not surrender. You fought with the murderer, to save the life a three year old boy. You succeeded in that, but paid with your life. Just twenty years old, and already a hero.
Dear families, people of Israel. Philippe Braham, Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada, were murdered on the eve of the Sabbath, in a kosher supermarket in Paris, in cold blood, because they were Jewish. The murderer made sure to be in a Jewish shop, and only then did he carry out the massacre. This was pure, venomous evil, which stirs the very worst of memories. This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life. In Paris, in Jerusalem, in Toulouse, and in Tel Aviv. In Brussels, and in Mumbai. In the streets, and in the synagogues. In the schools, and in the local market. In the train stations, and in the museums.
Like many, I watched the millions who marched in the streets of France. It was a demonstration of deep solidarity which warmed my heart. While the last weeks and months have proven, that terror does not discriminate between blood, we cannot escape the fact that this terrorism, explicitly targets the Jewish people. Those wearing tzitzit (the tasseled four cornered garment), those wearing kippot (skullcaps), those eating kosher food, praying in synagogues, ‘students of the Torah’.
It would be dangerous to deny that we are talking about anti-Semitism, whether old or new. Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe; in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels, or in Burgas.
We cannot allow it to be the case, that in the year 2015, seventy years since the end of the Second World War, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe with skullcaps and tzitzit. It cannot be allowed, that we should see in the news, frequent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, of Jews being beaten, and of synagogues and communities under attack. It is no longer possible to ignore or remain ambiguous, or to act weakly or with leniency against the rabid anti-Semitic incitement. Ignorance and violence will not simply go away on their own.
My brothers and sisters, members of the French Jewish community, we have in recent years witnessed a strengthening and a tightening of the vibrant and strong connection between the Jewish community of France, and the State and citizens of Israel. This strong and close bond finds expression in times of joy and grief, in good times and in bad.
We stood here together, and accompanied on their final journey, Miriam Monsonego, Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, and his infant children, Gavriel and Ariyeh. And just last summer, the people of Israel stood as one, as they laid to rest Jordan Ben-Simon, a ‘lone soldier’ from France. I met his parents, and his sisters. Special people, a family committed to a love for Israel, Jewish tradition, and a love for the State of Israel.
At these difficult times, I have learned how much we truly are one people. I understand how important it is that we stay together, close together, regardless of geographical distance. And today too, we are brothers, members of one family, with heads bowed, with tears of sorrow. A bond which cannot be unraveled by time or distance. A bond of spirit and blood.
Much has been said since the murders, on the issue of the immigration to Israel of French Jewry. My dear brothers and sisters, Jewish citizens of France, you are welcome. Our land is your land, our home is your home, and we yearn to see you settle in Zion.
However, returning to your ancestral home need not be due to distress, out of desperation, because of destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear. Terror has never kept us down, and we do not want terror to subdue you. The Land of Israel is the land of choice. We want you to choose Israel, because of a love for Israel.
Dear families, aside the graves of your loved ones, we promise that we will continue to fight for your right to live as Jews – wherever you may be. We will continue to fight for your right to open up proudly the synagogues, to educate your children in the study of Torah, a love for Israel, and a responsibility to the world around them.
Jewish blood is not worthless. Human blood is not worthless. The earth will not cover the blood, nothing will cure the pain. Here, between Jerusalem’s mountains, upon Har HaMenuchot, we lay to rest our brothers who have come from afar, our brothers, sons of France, but also sons of Jerusalem. May they be of blessed memory.”

PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the funeral
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s media Advisor)
[Translation]
We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.
Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.
I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people. They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.
I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.
And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.
Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.
Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.
Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.
May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2015: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Funeral of the Four Victims of the Terrorist Attack at the Hyper Cacher in Paris — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Funeral of the Four Victims of the Terrorist Attack at the Hyper Cacher in Paris

Source: PMO, 1-13-15

יום שלישי כ”ב טבת תשע”ה

We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.

Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.

I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people. They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.

I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.

And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.

Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.

Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.

Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.

May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 11, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Great Synagogue of Paris — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Great Synagogue of Paris

Source: PMO, 1-11-15
יום ראשון כ’ טבת תשע”ה

On this day, all citizens of Israel and Jews around the world stand with France and the French people. I greatly appreciate the determined stance of the President of France, Francois Hollande, and Prime Minister Valls against any expression of anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism and against terror. This stance is important to France and it is important to the world.

I wish to convey my condolences to the families of the journalists and police and all those innocent people who were murdered while realizing their most basic rights: freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of belief, even the freedom not to believe. These are the values on which modern France is built and these are values that are worth fighting for.

Today I marched through the streets of Paris, in one line with leaders from around the world, in order to say that terror must end. It is time that we fight against terror together. And I would like to use this opportunity to salute the French security forces who acted with remarkable bravery, as well as to express my appreciation to the Malian, who is a Muslim, who helped save seven Jews.

My dear brothers and sisters, I came here from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, to share in your pain over the murders of Francois-Michel, Philippe, Yoav and of Yohan, who bravely tried to grab the terrorist’s gun and was fatally wounded. The memory of our four holy brothers will be forever engraved on the hearts of our people.

Unfortunately the people of Israel have experienced this pain. We have experienced it many times because we have been fighting against terror for many years, and like many in Israel, I am personally familiar with the wounds of terror as well as the agony of bereavement. As a soldier, I was wounded in an operation to free hostages who had been kidnapped on a Sabena airplane. My late brother, Yoni, was killed in Entebbe when rescuing the hostages kidnapped on an Air France airplane. For years, the best of our sons and daughters were killed in many terror attacks, and the finest of our fighters fell in heroic battles against terrorism, including just recently during Operation Protective Edge.

Today we bow our heads in memory of the victims in Paris. However, as representatives of an ancient and proud people, we stand tall against evil because we can overcome it. “The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” – because truth and justice are on our side. And here is the truth: Our shared enemy is radical Islam, not Islam and not just radicals – radical Islam. This form of Islam has many names: ISIS, Hamas, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, al-Shabab, Hezbollah; but they are all branches from the same poison tree.

Although the various factions of radical Islam are given to local bloody conflicts, including amongst themselves, they all share the same aspiration: To impose a dark tyranny on the world, to return humanity one thousand years to the past. They trample anyone who does not share their path, first and foremost their Muslim brothers, but their greatest hatred is saved for Western culture, that same culture that respects freedom and equal rights – all the things they so despise.

For this reason it is not a coincidence that radical Islam has sought to destroy Israel from the very day it declared its independence: Because Israel is the only Western democracy in the Middle East, because Israel is the only place that is truly safe for Christians, women, minorities, that respects all human rights.

Well, here is another truth: Radical Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because it is an organic part of the West. It rightly views Israel as an island of Western democracy and tolerance in an ocean of fanaticism and violence that it wishes to impose on the Middle East, Europe and the entire world.
Israel is not under attack because of this or that detail of its policies, but rather because of its very existence and nature. But we are not the only ones under attack. Look around you: The entire world is under attack, the entire world – the Twin Towers in New York, the subways in London and Madrid, tourists in Bali, students at schools in Russia and Pakistan, a hotel in Mumbai, the mall in Nairobi.

A very short path connects the issuing of the fatwa against the author Salman Rushdie, the murder of Theo van Gogh in Holland and the attacks on Jews in Israel and around the world – it is a short distance from this to the murderous attacks in Paris on the office of Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket not far from here. These are not isolated actions and we must see what they have in common. Otherwise we will not be able to fight against terror in methodical and consistent manner.

We must recognize that there is a global network of radical Islam at work – a network of hatred, fanaticism and murder. I believe that this threat will only grow larger when thousands of terrorists come to Europe from the killing fields of the Middle East. The danger will grow much greater and will become a serious threat to humanity at large if radical Islam gains control over nuclear weapons, and therefore we must use all means to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic weapon. We must support each other in this fateful struggle against radical Islamic fanatics wherever they are.

Israel stands with Europe and Europe must stand with Israel. As the civilized world today stands with France against terror, so must it stand with Israel against terror. It is the exact same terror. Those who slaughtered Jews in the synagogue in Jerusalem and those who slaughtered Jews and journalists in Paris belong to the same murderous terrorist movement. They should be condemned in the same measure and they must be fought in the same manner.

Only when the international community fights our shared enemy in a uniform manner will we know that we are on the path to victory. I promise you: Israel will continue to fight against terror. Israel will continue to defend itself and we know that when we defend ourselves, we defend the entire civilized world.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, Jews of France, I would like to say to you what I say to our Jewish brothers and sisters from all countries: You have the full right to live in safety and tranquility as citizens with equal rights wherever you wish, including here in France. But Jews of our time have been blessed with another right, a right that did not exist for previous generations of Jews: The right to join their Jewish brothers and sisters in our historic homeland, the Land of Israel; the right to live in our free country, the one and only Jewish state, the State of Israel; the right to stand tall and proud at the walls of Zion, our eternal capital of Jerusalem.

Any Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed with open arms and warm and accepting hearts. They will not arrive in a foreign land but rather the land of our forefathers. God willing, they will come and many of you will come to our home. Am Yisrael Chai.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 9, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement in Wake of the Terrorist Attacks in Paris — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Statement in Wake of the Terrorist Attacks in Paris

Source: PMO, 1-9-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to send our condolences to the French Jewish community and the French people who have suffered a murderous terrorist assault in the last few days. These attacks in Paris are the continuation of extremist Islam’s war against our free civilization, in the West, in the entire modern world and also in the moderate Arab states and among entire publics in the Islamic world. This is a wave of terrorism that is spreading a global net of hatred, fanaticism and murder. After establishing its bases in the Middle East, terrorism is now sending its arms throughout the world. If the world does not take action quickly, we will find this terrorism gaining momentum and increasingly striking at other centers of the free world and in other places.

The terrorist organizations of extremist Islam have many and varied names – Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Al Qaida, Nusra, Islamic Jihad and Boko Haram. They are all motivated by the same bloody hatred and the same fanaticism that knows no borders.

They want to take humanity 1,000 years backward to a dark tyranny that we freed ourselves from after many generations. They simply want to take humanity backward.

Further proof that these organizations are branches of the same poisonous tree may be seen in the fact that one of Hamas’s official organs praised the reprehensible murderers in Paris. It must be understood that this is a war against us all.

I am convinced that if we are united this terrorism will be unable to defeat us. But if we ignore the true root of the problem, if we ignore the fact that extremist Islamic terrorism seeks to exterminate Western civilization as a whole, including the Jewish People, if we ignore this – what we are now seeing in Paris will be only the beginning. These are not frightening words or prophecies of rage, this is the simple reality and the time has come to recognize it.

Last night I spoke with French Prime minister Manuel Valls and with French President Francois Hollande. I commended the determination with which the French authorities eliminated the terrorists, these murderers, and I also commended the courage of the French security services. But this is not enough. In order to fight terrorism, it is essential to strike at its sources of financing and at the centers of incitement that encourage these murderous acts throughout Europe. It is also essential to take action against countries that give support, shelter and passage to terrorism.

The first law is that it is forbidden to give in to the fear that it seeks to instil in us. In order to fight terrorism it is simply necessary to fight it. We express our deepest sorrow over the French citizens who were murdered, the journalists, the police officers and the innocent citizens who were murdered simply because they were citizens of the free world. We express our deepest sorrow over our Jewish brothers who were murdered simply because they were Jews. Our brothers and sisters in the French Jewish community, we grieve with you over the terrible loss. I would like to send condolences to the families of Yoav Hattab, Philippe Barham, Johan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada. We also send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all the wounded.

This evening, I spoke by telephone with Celine Shreki, who was a hostage in the kosher market in the heart of Paris; she is recovering. She told me about the terrorist’s inconceivable cruelty and of the heroism of the young Jewish man who attempted to seize his weapon and shoot him; he was shot by the terrorist and died about 45 minutes later.

To Celine and all French Jews, and to all European Jews, I would like to say: The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home. This week, a special team of ministers will convene to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism. All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 17, 2014: PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Removal of Hamas from the EU List of Terrorist Organizations — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Removal of Hamas from the EU List of Terrorist Organizations

Source: PMO, 12-17-14

יום רביעי כ”ה כסלו תשע”ה
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement on the decision of the General Court of the European Union to remove Hamas from the European Union list of terrorist organizations:

“We are not satisfied with the European Union’s explanation that the removal of Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations is a ‘technical matter’. The burden of proof is on the European Union and we expect it to put Hamas back on the list forthwith given that it is understood by all that Hamas – a murderous terrorist organization, the covenant of which specifies the destruction of Israel as its goal – is an inseparable part of this list. We will continue to fight Hamas with strength and determination so that it never achieves this goal.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 3, 2014: Senator John McCain Remarks at 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Senator McCain Remarks at AIPAC Conference

Source: C-SPAN, 3-3-14

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) spoke at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference…..READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 3, 2014: Senator John McCain’s Speech / Remarks at AIPAC Conference

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Senator McCain Remarks at AIPAC Conference

Source: C-SPAN, 3-3-14

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) spoke at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference…..READ MORE

Israel Political Brief February 13, 2014: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Speaks with UK Prime Minister David Cameron about Cancelled State Trip to Israel and Floods

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Prime Minister Netanyahu Speaks with UK Prime Minister Cameron

Source: PMO,  2-13-14
יום חמישי י”ג אדר א תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and offered assistance in dealing with the storms affecting Great Britain. They agreed to coordinate on a new date for UK Prime Minister Cameron’s visit to Israel, which was due to take place next week but has been postponed due to the aforesaid storms.

Israel Political Brief February 12, 2014: EU Parliament President Martin Schultz’s address to the Knesset causes uproar and walkout

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

EU Parliament President Martin Schultz’s address to the Knesset causes uproar and walkout

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz adresses the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014.  (Photo credit: Flash90)

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz addresses the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014. (Photo credit: Flash90)

Leaders from Israel’s Right leaning parties, including Economics Minister Naftali Bennett and his Bayit Yehudi party left as European Parliament President Martin Schulz addressed the Knesset on the last day of his Israel visit and made incorrect statements about Palestinian freedoms and access to water.

The comment that caused Knesset members to be upset was when Shulz asked; “One of the questions these young people asked me which I found most moving – although I could not check the exact figures – was this: how can it be that an Israeli is allowed to use 70 litres of water per day, but a Palestinian only 17?”

Bennett demanded that Schulz apologize for his ‘lying propaganda,’ and PM Benjamin Netanyahu stated it was “selective hearing” on the part of the EU President.

Sources:

“Lawmakers walk out of European Parliament president’s Knesset address,”  JTA, 2-12-14

“Netanyahu accuses EU Parliament chief of ‘selective hearing’ after Bennett walkout,” Haaretz, 2-12-14

Full Text Israel Political Brief February 12, 2014: European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s Speech Addressing the Knesset — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s Speech Addressing the Knesset

Source: Times of Israel, 2-12-14

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz adressess the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014.  (photo credit: Flash 90)

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz adressess the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014. (photo credit: Flash 90)

I stand before you today as the German President of a multinational European Parliament. I am well aware that it is by no means self-evident that the German language should be heard in this House, and I should like to express to you my gratitude for allowing me to address you in my mother tongue.

It is a great honour for me to be in Jerusalem as a guest of the Knesset, the body which is the heartbeat of Israeli democracy, the body which symbolises the realisation of the hope cherished for so long by the Jewish people for a homeland of their own; following centuries in which the Jewish people were betrayed and persecuted throughout the world; following the unprecedented break with all civilised values which the Shoah represented; and following the barbaric murder of six million Jews.

I was born in 1955. I am a German who did not experience at first hand the atrocities of National Socialism, but the crimes committed by the Nazis were the reason I became involved in politics and their repercussions have influenced political thinking from the start. I bear the same responsibility as every other German for the mass murder perpetrated in the name of my nation. In the name of my nation, the Jewish people were forced to endure suffering for which no reparation can ever be made. I bow down before the memory of all those who were murdered.

As a German who holds political office, and international political office at that, I regard it as my first duty to honour the following pledge: Never again. Never forget.

We must make sure that the act of commemorating past disasters which have befallen humanity engenders a sense of responsibility for the present and the future, and that we let this sense of responsibility guide our actions.

Letting this sense of responsibility guide our actions means standing up for freedom, for democracy and for human dignity every day.

We are all witnessing with dismay a return to ways of thinking which we thought had long been consigned to history, in the form of anti-Semitism, ultra-nationalism and populism. This merely strengthens me in my conviction that we must stand firm together – every one of us – against all those who stir up hatred. I believe that what the philosopher Edmund Burke said still holds true: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’.

We have no choice, therefore, but to act responsibly. Acting responsibly means observing the principle enshrined in Germany’s Basic Law that ‘human dignity is sacrosanct’.

Acting responsibly means, for us, nurturing the European unification process, because integration between our States and our peoples was the response we Europeans found to the wars, destruction and murders which disfigured the first half of the 20th century. Unification and integration have helped us to banish the old demons and have immunised Europe against the threat of war.

Acting responsibly means, for us, openly acknowledging Israel’s right to exist and the right of the Jewish people to live in security and peace. The European Union will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.

Dear Members of the Knesset,
For the sake of our children and our children’s children we must remember. For the sake of future generations, who will never have the opportunity to talk with survivors of the Shoah, we need events and places which help us remember.

Yesterday I had a deeply moving experience. Together with Judge Gabriel Bach I visited the Yad Vashem memorial. I had the honour of meeting Judge Bach for the first time two years ago, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, which we celebrated at the European Parliament for the third time only a few weeks ago, together with members of the European Jewish Congress and survivors of the Shoah. I find Judge Bach’s life story very inspiring, and meeting him has restored my faith in justice. The fact that a 10-year-old boy who was driven from his homeland by a Nazi criminal in 1938 should later, as Deputy State Prosecutor of a democratic Israel, put that criminal, Adolf Eichmann, on trial, shows that there is such a thing as justice in this world. And that justice is something worth fighting for every day!

Ladies and gentlemen,
Israel embodies the hope cherished by a people of being able to live a life of freedom in a homeland of their own. As a result of the actions of brave men and women, Israel represents the realisation of that very human dream. Throwing off the shackles of prejudice and persecution, in order to live in freedom and dignity – this is a desire shared by many people throughout the world.

Today, Israel is a robust democracy, a vibrant, open society with all the conflicts that implies, and a modern economy. The kibbutzim which once made the desert bloom have been replaced by hundreds of start-ups and high-tech research centres in which work is being done which will lead to the inventions of the future; minute microchips and robots, computer tomography and ultrasound scanners. Israeli researchers are world leaders in many areas. Israel has only eight million inhabitants, but it can boast seven major research universities, including the Technion in Haifa and the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, and 12 Nobel Prize winners!

Israel has built a society founded on the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Israel and the European Union share these values. They are the ties which hold our partnership, our friendship, together. They are the basis for the answers we are seeking together to the challenges of the 21st century: climate change and water scarcity, refugee problems, peace and security. They are the basis for our scientific and economic cooperation.

If you will allow me, I will deal first with security and peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Arab Spring has brought with it revolutions and upheavals in the region which are presenting Israel and the EU with new challenges. Together, we can exert a positive influence on developments in our neighbourhood. This is a responsibility we cannot ignore.

The changes and upheavals I referred to a moment ago are leaving many people uneasy, and with good reason. Syria is experiencing an ever more brutal escalation of violence. The Assad regime would rather massacre its own population than give up power! Even children are being tortured and killed. The opposition is also guilty of perpetrating appalling massacres and recruiting child soldiers. We condemn the savage violence in the strongest possible terms. The killing must stop!

Two days ago in Jordan I visited the Al Zaatari camp, which houses 90 000 of the 2.2 million Syrian refugees. I was deeply shocked by the human suffering I witnessed there, but I was also deeply moved by the generosity which has led the States in this region to open their borders to refugees from the civil war and do whatever they can to provide them with food and a roof over their heads. Israel, too, is saving many lives by giving medical care to people damaged physically and mentally by the Syrian war. Sometimes I wish we in Europe would show the same kind of commitment.

But there are also grounds for hope: Tunisia’s new constitution is a document to gladden the hearts of all democrats. The EU will always support those who commit themselves to upholding democracy and universal human rights.

This sense of hope is creating a new opportunity to establish peace in the region.

I understand that bitter experience may make some people reluctant to extend the hand of peace. People in this chamber know much more about the Holocaust than I do. There are people in this chamber who risked their lives in wars waged to secure Israel’s survival. For years on end, Israel’s neighbours challenged its very right to exist.

No one has forgotten the open threats made against Israel by the last Iranian President, or the fact that not so long ago political gatherings in Tehran ended with the words ‘Death to Israel’.

For that reason I can readily understand why Israel regards an Iran which has the capability to launch nuclear missiles as a threat to its existence. That is a threat not just to Israel, but to world peace in general.

This is why the EU is monitoring the implementation of the preliminary agreement very closely. Let me assure you that there is one thing on which the EU and Israel agree: Iran must never acquire nuclear weapons. In our eyes, diplomacy and dialogue are the best way of ensuring that, since it is in all our interests that this issue should be resolved peacefully and that everything should be done to prevent another war in the Middle East.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Security is a very abstract concept, but it has an immediate impact on people’s lives.

We in Europe have little understanding of the physical and emotional scars which terrorism leaves behind, what it means for parents in Sderot and Ashkelon to live every day with the fear that their children may die in a rocket attack on their way to school. I was the father of children who could go to school without fear. For that reason, Israel has the right and the government the duty to protect its people. We condemn the rocket attacks on innocent people in the strongest possible terms. Terrorist attacks are crimes for which there is no justification.

It is only the peoples directly involved who can make peace in the Middle East. It is only the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves who can make peace between their two peoples. We Europeans support them on that difficult road, which will require both sides to make painful concessions.

We know that the Israeli people want peace. Courageous men such as Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres held out the hand of peace and signed agreements in Madrid and Oslo. The hopes embodied in those agreements have not always been fulfilled, and this has made some people pessimistic about the prospects for peace in the future. Others, only a small minority to be sure, are even actively working to scupper any peace agreement which might be signed.

On the Palestinian side as well, courageous men and women are working for peace. In recent years, building on their impressive ‘no violence’ policy, Mahmud Abbas and Salam Fayyad have developed modern institutions and done much to establish law and order.

Two days ago I spoke with young people in Ramallah. Like young people everywhere in the world, their dream is to train, study and travel, to find work and to start a family. But they have another dream as well, one which concerns something most young people take for granted: they want to be able to live freely in their own country, with no threat of violence, with no restrictions on their freedom of movement. The Palestinian people, like the Israeli people, have the right to fulfil their dream of creating their own viable democratic state. The Palestinians, just like the Israelis, have the right to self-determination and justice.

One of the questions these young people asked me which I found most moving – although I could not check the exact figures – was this: how can it be that an Israeli is allowed to use 70 litres of water per day, but a Palestinian only 17?

(In the wake of this question, members of the right-wing Jewish Home party heckled Shultz, with Moti Yogev MK declaring “that’s a lie, the Palestinians are lying,” and several walked out of the chamber. Left-wing MKs later criticized them for their behavior.)

Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, the upheavals in the Middle East are creating a new opportunity for peace.

The future of young Palestinians, but also the future of young Israelis, hinges on the way Israel responds to these changes.

For without peace there can be no security. Military power can quell disorder, but it cannot create peace.

Ariel Sharon, may he rest in peace, said something for which I admire him: ‘It is impossible to have a Jewish democratic state, and at the same time to control all of Eretz Israel. If we insist on fulfilling the dream in its entirety, we are liable to lose it all.’

From the outset, the whole rationale behind the two-State solution proposal was to make it possible for the Palestinian people to live in dignity, and on the basis of self-determination, and to safeguard peace and security for all Israelis. Despite all the obstacles in the way of its achievement, we must remain true to the objective, born out of a desire to build a better future, which the two-State solution represents. Even if this objective is achieved, the security of the Israeli state will remain an issue of major importance.

For that reason, we support the US commitment to mediation and the tireless work being done by Secretary of State John Kerry.

One of the main bones of contention is Israel’s settlement policy. As you are no doubt aware, both the European Parliament and the United Nations have adopted numerous resolutions which criticise the ongoing process of building and expanding settlements and call for it to be halted. In the eyes of the EU and the entire international community, the fact that East Jerusalem is cut off from the West Bank is certainly an obstacle on the road to a peaceful settlement.

The blockade of the Gaza Strip is your response to attacks on Israeli civilians and I can understand that. But it is stifling all economic development and driving people to despair – despair which in turn is being exploited by extremists. The blockade may in fact undermine, rather than strengthen, Israel’s security.

How can we break the vicious circle of violence?
This was the question which lent the initial impetus to the European unification process, and the founding fathers of the European Union came up with the answer. My grandparents’ generation would have regarded reconciliation with the arch enemy France as impossible. But the impossible came to pass, through a simple acknowledgement of the fact that if Europe was not to continue tearing itself apart on the battlefield we Europeans had no choice but to make peace and work together. I believe that if we want to grant people a life in dignity there is no alternative to peace for the Israelis and Palestinians today.

It was because our neighbours were prepared to hold out the hand of reconciliation to Germany, which had started the war in the first place, that Germany was able to find its place in the international community once again and become a stable democracy. As Yitzhak Rabin put it so aptly, ‘peace is something you make with your enemies, not with your friends’.

Yes, we achieved reconciliation. Then, through the efforts of courageous men and women, who planned for and organised peace, the idea took root in people’s hearts and trust grew.

I firmly believe that a negotiated settlement, the outcome of which is an Israeli State and a Palestinian State living side by side in peace, is realistic. The European Union believes this as well, which is why, once a definitive peace agreement has been signed, we have pledged to provide unprecedented support, in the form of funding and human resources, under a special privileged partnership. The agreement reached by the Foreign Ministers in December will also afford Israel and a future State of Palestine easier access to the European market, will facilitate trade and investment, will enhance cultural and scientific exchanges and will lead to closer cooperation in the area of security. Let me seize this opportunity to make a clarification: the EU has no intention to boycott Israel. I am of the conviction that what we need is more cooperation, not division.

All too often issues of security and peace overshadow other aspects of our relations which are hugely important for people in Israel and Europe – social justice and equal opportunities are cases in point.

The financial and economic crisis has brought with it increased levels of poverty and unemployment in Europe. Huge numbers of young people are jobless, and as a result more and more of them are losing faith in politics. This is hardly surprising if we consider that the most open-minded and best educated generation which Europe has ever had is watching as its prospects are destroyed by a crisis for which it was in no way to blame.

Everywhere, even in countries whose economies are performing well, poverty and despair are spreading to the middle classes and the weakest members of society are being marginalised more and more. The marches of the indignados which reached our capitals in spring 2011 were repeated a few months later in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Giving young people fresh hope in a better future is certainly our most important task as politicians. To do this, we must also safeguard the competitiveness of our economies in the globalised 21st century. Only in this way will jobs – good jobs – be created.

Our economic ties are already close. The EU is Israel’s most important trading partner and our cooperation in the area of research, science and technology is the basis for our future economic strength. Our competitiveness in a globalised world will hinge on two things – innovation and education.

The Israeli-European research community is already into its third generation and its members are forging ever closer links. Israel’s formal involvement in the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, which will start soon, will take our cooperation to a new level. Horizon 2020 is the largest research and innovation programme there has ever been. It promises to yield more breakthroughs and discoveries because it will provide backing for every stage in the process of turning ideas tested in the laboratory into marketable products. Scientific cooperation is already the most successful aspect of our partnership. I am convinced that as a result of our cooperation under Horizon 2020 new records will be set. I am also particularly delighted that more and more Israeli students are taking part in the Erasmus Mundus exchange programme.

You and I are the heirs of the founding generation of the State of Israel and of the European Union. We must safeguard that heritage.

Parents all over the world are prepared to make sacrifices for their children, to do everything they can to give them a good future. It is now up to us, the heirs, to show the same boldness, drive and vision in safeguarding the State of Israel and the European Union for future generations. The words which should guide us in that endeavour are those spoken by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Willy Brandt, a man who fought against Nazi Germany and knelt before the memorial to the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. ‘Peace is not everything, but without peace there is nothing.’

%d bloggers like this: