Full Text Israel Political Brief March 3, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Joint Address to Congress on Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal Threat — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Full text: Netanyahu’s address to Congress

Source: WaPo, 3-3-15

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is addressing a joint meeting of Congress; here is a complete transcript of his remarks.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you…

(APPLAUSE)

… Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it’s good to see you back on your feet.

(APPLAUSE)

I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down.

(LAUGHTER)

My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.

I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.

(APPLAUSE)

Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.

Now, some of that is widely known.

(APPLAUSE)

Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.

Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.

In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.

Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.

And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.

But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.

(APPLAUSE)

And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.

My friends, I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.

(APPLAUSE)

Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.”

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.

(APPLAUSE)

We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

(APPLAUSE)

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

(APPLAUSE)

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.

Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.

And if — if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions — 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock — as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…

(APPLAUSE)

Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

(APPLAUSE)

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

(APPLAUSE)

Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true.

The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country…

(APPLAUSE)

… no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

(APPLAUSE)

My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

(APPLAUSE)

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”

(APPLAUSE)

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

(APPLAUSE)

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

(APPLAUSE)

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

(APPLAUSE)

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.

(APPLAUSE)

But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.

(APPLAUSE)

Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.

And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.

May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

You’re wonderful.

Thank you, America. Thank you.

Thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 2, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC Policy Conference 2015 — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Speech At The AIPAC Policy Conference

Source: PMO, 3-2-15

Thank you. Wow, 16,000 people. Anyone here from California? Florida? New York?

Well, these are the easy ones. How about Colorado? Indiana? I think I got it. Montana? Texas?

You’re here in record numbers. You’re here from coast to coast, from every part of this great land. And you’re here at a critical time. You’re here to tell the world that reports of the demise of the Israeli-U.S. relations are not only premature, they’re just wrong.
You’re here to tell the world that our alliance is stronger than ever.

And because of you, and millions like you, across this great country, it’s going to get even stronger in the coming years.

Thank you Bob Cohen, Michael Kassen, Howard Kohr and all the leadership of AIPAC. Thank you for your tireless, dedicated work to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.

I want to thank, most especially, Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans. I deeply appreciate your steadfast support for Israel, year in, year out. You have our boundless gratitude.

I want to welcome President Zeman of the Czech Republic. Mr. President, Israel never forgets its friends. And the Czech people have always been steadfast friends of Israel, the Jewish people, from the days of Thomas Masaryk at the inception of Zionism.

You know, Mr. President, when I entered the Israeli army in 1967, I received a Czech rifle. That was one of the rifles that was given to us by your people in our time of need in 1948. So thank you for being here today.

Also here are two great friends of Israel, former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar and as of last month, former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Thank you both for your unwavering support. You are true champions of Israel, and you are, too, champions of the truth.

I also want to recognize the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, for your genuine friendship, Dan, and for the great job you’re doing representing the United States and the State of Israel.

And I want to recognize the two Rons. I want to thank Ambassador Ron Prosor for the exemplary job he’s doing at the U.N. in a very difficult forum.

And I want to recognize the other Ron, a man who knows how to take the heat, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. Ron, I couldn’t be prouder to have you representing Israel in Washington.

And finally, I want to recognize my wife, Sara, whose courage in the face of adversity is an inspiration to me. Sara divides her time as a child psychologist, as a loving mother, and her public duties as the wife of the prime minister. Sara, I’m so proud to have you here with me today, to have you with me at my side always.

My friends, I bring greetings to you from Jerusalem, our eternal undivided capital.

And I also bring to you news that you may not have heard. You see, I’ll be speaking in Congress tomorrow.

You know, never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given. And I’m not going to speak today about the content of that speech, but I do want to say a few words about the purpose of that speech.

First, let me clarify what is not the purpose of that speech. My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.

I deeply appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel, security cooperation, intelligence sharing, support at the U.N., and much more, some things that I, as prime minister of Israel, cannot even divulge to you because it remains in the realm of the confidences that are kept between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. I am deeply grateful for this support, and so should you be.

My speech is also not intended to inject Israel into the American partisan debate. An important reason why our alliance has grown stronger decade after decade is that it has been championed by both parties and so it must remain.

Both Democratic and Republican presidents have worked together with friends from both sides of the aisle in Congress to strengthen Israel and our alliance between our two countries, and working together, they have provided Israel with generous military assistance and missile defense spending. We’ve seen how important that is just last summer.

Working together, they’ve made Israel the first free trade partner of America 30 years ago and its first official strategic partner last year.

They’ve backed Israel in defending itself at war and in our efforts to achieve a durable peace with our neighbors. Working together has made Israel stronger; working together has made our alliance stronger.

And that’s why the last thing that anyone who cares about Israel, the last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue. And I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here this week as doing that. Israel has always been a bipartisan issue.

Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Look at that graph. Look at that map. And you see on the wall, it shows Iran training, arming, dispatching terrorists on five continents. Iran envelopes the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons.

And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal. We must not let that happen.

And as prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them. For 2000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak on our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves.

Well, no more, no more.

The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over. Today in our sovereign state of Israel, we defend ourselves. And being able to defend ourselves, we ally with others, most importantly, the United States of America, to defend our common civilization against common threats.

In our part of the world and increasingly, in every part of the world, no one makes alliances with the weak. You seek out those who have strength, those who have resolve, those who have the determination to fight for themselves. That’s how alliances are formed.

So we defend ourselves and in so doing, create the basis of a broader alliance.

And today, we are no longer silent; today, we have a voice. And tomorrow, as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice.

I plan to speak about an Iranian regime that is threatening to destroy Israel, that’s devouring country after country in the Middle East, that’s exporting terror throughout the world and that is developing, as we speak, the capacity to make nuclear weapons, lots of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States agree that Iran should not have nuclear weapons, but we disagree on the best way to prevent Iran from developing those weapons.

Now disagreements among allies are only natural from time to time, even among the closest of allies. Because they’re important differences between America and Israel.

The United States of America is a large country, one of the largest. Israel is a small country, one of the smallest.

America lives in one of the world’s safest neighborhoods. Israel lives in the world’s most dangerous neighborhood. America is the strongest power in the world. Israel is strong, but it’s much more vulnerable. American leaders worry about the security of their country. Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.

You know I think that encapsulates the difference. I’ve been prime minister of Israel for nine years. There’s not a single day, not one day that I didn’t think about the survival of my country and the actions that I take to ensure that survival, not one day.

And because of these differences, America and Israel have had some serious disagreements over the course of our nearly 70-year-old friendship.

Now, it started with the beginning. In 1948, Secretary of State Marshall opposed David Ben-Gurion’s intention to declare statehood. That’s an understatement. He vehemently opposed it. But Ben-Gurion, understanding what was at stake, went ahead and declared Israel’s independence.

In 1967, as an Arab noose was tightening around Israel’s neck, the United States warned Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that if Israel acted alone, it would be alone. But Israel did act — acted alone to defend itself.

In 1981, under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor at Osirak. The United States criticized Israel and suspended arms transfers for three months. And in 2002, after the worst wave of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel’s history, Prime Minister Sharon launched Operation Defensive Shield. The United States demanded that Israel withdraw its troops immediately, but Sharon continued until the operation was completed.

There’s a reason I mention all these. I mention them to make a point. Despite occasional disagreements, the friendship between America and Israel grew stronger and stronger, decade after decade.

And our friendship will weather the current disagreement, as well, to grow even stronger in the future. And I’ll tell you why; because we share the same dreams. Because we pray and hope and aspire for that same better world; because the values that unite us are much stronger than the differences that divide us values like liberty, equality, justice, tolerance, compassion.

As our region descends into medieval barbarism, Israel is the one that upholds these values common to us and to you.

As Assad drops bell bombs on his own people, Israeli doctors treat his victims in our hospitals right across the fence in the Golan Heights.

As Christians in the Middle East are beheaded and their ancient communities are decimated, Israel’s Christian community is growing and thriving, the only one such community in the Middle East.

As women in the region are repressed, enslaved, and raped, women in Israel serve as chief justices, CEOs, fighter pilots, two women chief justices in a row. Well, not in a row, but in succession. That’s pretty good.

In a dark, and savage, and desperate Middle East, Israel is a beacon of humanity, of light, and of hope.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States will continue to stand together because America and Israel are more than friends. We’re like a family. We’re practically mishpocha.

Now, disagreements in the family are always uncomfortable, but we must always remember that we are family.

Rooted in a common heritage, upholding common values, sharing a common destiny. And that’s the message I came to tell you today. Our alliance is sound. Our friendship is strong. And with your efforts it will get even stronger in the years to come.

Thank you, AIPAC. Thank you, America. God bless you all.

Israel Musings March 1, 2015: Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war

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Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on his trip to the United States on Sunday, March 1, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH argued about Netanyahu’s upcoming Joint…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 1, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Before Leaving for Washington

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Before Leaving for Washington

Source: PMO, 3-1-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks before departing for the US:

“A few days before the Fast of Esther, I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission. I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis, even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish People. I am deeply and genuinely concerned for the security of all Israelis, for the fate of the nation, and for the fate of our people and I will do my utmost to ensure our future.”

Israel Musings February 11, 2015: Netanyahu determined to address Congress about Iran insists not about Obama

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Netanyahu determined to address Congress about Iran insists not about Obama February 11, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to debunk to the rumors surrounding his upcoming Joint Address to Congress in a statement to the press and on Twitter on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. Netanyahu wanted to clarify that he is…

Israel Musings February 10, 2015: Obama, WH lied created Netanyahu Congress address controversy, aware of invite

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama, WH lied created Netanyahu Congress address controversy, aware of invite

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Washington Post is claiming that President Barack Obama manufactured the whole story that Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH blind-sided him with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Joint Address to Congress. David Bernstein, Professor of…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 7, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the 11th Annual Saban Forum — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu addresses 11th Annual Saban Forum

Source: MFA, 12-7-14

Excerpts

While stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program is by far the most vital national security challenge we face, the unprecedented instability afflicting the entire region poses an enormous challenge for our common security as well. Violence and fanaticism are spreading throughout the Middle East.

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recorded remarks (Sunday, 7 December 2014) to the 11th Annual Saban Forum in Washington, DC:

The prestigious Saban Forum discusses so many of the important issues facing America and Israel today. And of these, none is more important to our common security than Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The November 24th deadline for an agreement has come and gone. That’s fortunate because a deal was not signed last month that would have effectively left Iran as a threshold nuclear power. And even though Israel isn’t part of the P5+1, our voice and our concerns played a critical role in preventing a bad deal. Now we must use the time available to increase the pressure on Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons capability.

While stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program is by far the most vital national security challenge we face, the unprecedented instability afflicting the entire region poses an enormous challenge for our common security as well. Where once seemingly coherent nations and clearly defined borders stood, we now see chaos – in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen and Lebanon.

The entire region is hemorrhaging. Violence and fanaticism are spreading throughout the Middle East, and ISIS’s savagery is merely one example of it. The collapse of the old order has made clear to pragmatic Arab governments that Israel is not their enemy. On the contrary, Israel and our moderate Arab neighbors have much to gain by cooperating. And this cooperation could, in turn, open the door to peace…

… Like the moderate Arabs, I want Israel to have peace with the Palestinians: a genuine peace, an enduring peace, a secure peace. I stress the word secure because for years I demanded that any peace agreement be founded upon robust security arrangements. That was always understood by Israelis, but I hope, I sincerely hope that it’s now better understood internationally for there can be no peace without real security and there can be no real security without a long-term IDF presence to provide it.

For nine months we negotiated with the Palestinians, but they consistently refused to engage us on our legitimate security concerns, just as they refused to discuss recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, while at the same time insisting that Israel recognize a nation-state of the Palestinian people.

The talks didn’t end because Israel announced that it would build apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem – neighborhoods that will remain a part of Israel under any conceivable peace agreement.

The talks ended because the Palestinians wanted them to end. The talks ended because President Abbas unfortunately chose a pact with Hamas over peace with Israel.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership is simply not prepared, and I hope this changes, but it’s not yet prepared to truly confront violence and fanaticism within Palestinian society, within their own ranks. The jihadist murderers in the tragic attack on the Har Nof synagogue were not focused on how many apartments Jews were building in Jerusalem. They were focused on killing Jews. After Secretary Kerry spoke with him, President Abbas condemned the Har Nof murderers, but still blamed Israel for their heinous actions. And Abbas remains in a political pact with those who celebrated the murder of the rabbis, three of whom were also American citizens.

Regrettably, the Palestinian leadership not only refuses to confront that extremism, at times, it even fuels it. It engages in incitement day in and day out. Just look at their webpages. Look at their websites – it’ll make your hair stand on end. And I think it’s important to confront this. I don’t think sticking our head in the sand promotes real peace and I don’t believe that false hopes promote real peace. I think they just push peace further away.

Real peace will only come with leadership that demands from the Palestinians to accept the three pillars of peace: one, genuine mutual recognition; two, an end to all claims, including the right of return; and three, a long-term Israeli security presence. Now, I will never give up on this triangle of true peace.

Israel seeks peace. I seek peace, but for peace we need a Palestinian partner willing to stand up to Palestinian extremists – as other Arab governments are now doing throughout the region. I hope that we will find such a partner – a partner who will recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, who will take our security concerns seriously, who will end all claims…

…Last week, we celebrated the 67th anniversary of the United Nations’ call for the establishment of the Jewish state. Today, we are proud that the Jewish people have achieved our national self-determination in a genuinely democratic state, one that guarantees equal rights for all its citizens, regardless of race, religion or sex – as promised in our Declaration of Independence. And this will not change. In standing up for Israel’s identity as the nation-state of the Jewish people, I will never agree to legislation that undermines Israel’s democratic character. Not now, not ever…

…The great bond between Israel and America is anchored in our shared democratic values and our friendship was demonstrated again over the summer when President Obama and the Congress provided Israel with that additional funding for Iron Dome, which has saved so many lives. And that friendship was demonstrated yet again last week when an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House followed the Senate in approving the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act. I thank our many friends from both parties in the House and the Senate who – like me -are committed to strengthening even further the US-Israel alliance.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 24, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks in the Knesset on Iran — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks in the Knesset on Iran

Source: MFA, 11-24-14

​PM Netanyahu: It is very important that this agreement has been prevented as of now, but a struggle is yet before us and we intend to continue this struggle in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state that would endanger us and others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks in the Knesset today (Monday, 24 November 2014):

“We are anxiously monitoring the nuclear talks with Iran. We are also using our contacts and expressing our views, directly as well, in the international media, in my contacts with the American administration and other heads of government, in Minister Steinitz’s contacts with various security elements, in contacts with ministers in these governments and in the work of the National Security Council.

“I think that an important thing happened today. We have always said that no agreement is preferable to a bad agreement and the agreement that Iran signed is a very bad and dangerous agreement for Israel, for the region and in my opinion for the future of the entire world.

“It is very important that this agreement has been prevented as of now, but a struggle is yet before us and we intend to continue this struggle in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state that would endanger us and others. Israel will always act on this matter and reserves its right to defend itself by itself.”

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 23, 2014: Excerpt from PM Bernjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the weekly Cabinet Meeting on Iran Nuclear Talks and Israel Jewish Nation State Bill – Transcript

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Excerpt from PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 11-23-14

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, today (Sunday, 23 November 2014):

“Last night US Secretary of State John Kerry updated me on the situation in the nuclear talks with Iran. We are anxiously monitoring developments in these talks. We are holding discussions with the representatives of other major powers and are presenting them with a vigorous position to the effect that Iran must not be allowed to be determined as a nuclear threshold state. There is no reason why it should be left with thousands of centrifuges that could enable it to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb in a short time. Neither is there any reason why Iran should continue to develop intercontinental missiles, which could carry nuclear warheads, and thereby threaten the entire world. Therefore, no agreement at all would be preferable to a bad agreement that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and all of humanity.

Over the weekend I instructed Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelbit, along with Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, to submit draft legislation to revoke rights from residents who participate in terrorism or incitement against the State of Israel. It cannot be that those who attack Israeli citizens and call for the elimination of the State of Israel will enjoy rights such as National Insurance, and their family members as well, who support them. This law is important in order to exact a price from those who engage in attacks and incitement, including the throwing of stones and firebombs, and it complements the demolition of terrorists’ homes, and helps to create deterrence vis-à-vis those who engage in attacks and incitement.

Today, I will submit to the Cabinet the nationality law and the principles that I believe need to guide this legislation. The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish People. It has equal individual rights for every citizen and we insist on this. But only the Jewish People have national rights: A flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to the country, and other national symbols. These are granted only to our people, in its one and only state.

I hear from people who say ‘Who needs this law? We’ve managed without it for 66 years.’ And I ask: Who needed Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty? We managed without it for 45 years. But both are necessary. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. There are those who would like the democratic to prevail over the Jewish and there are those who would like the Jewish to prevail over the democratic. And in the principles of the law that I will submit today both of these values are equal and both must be considered to the same degree.

This law is also needed now for another reason: There are many who are challenging Israel’s character as the national state of the Jewish people. The Palestinians refuse to recognize this and there is also opposition from within. There are those – including those who deny our national rights – who would like to establish autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev. Neither do I understand those who are calling for two states for two peoples but who also oppose anchoring this in law. They are pleased to recognize a Palestinian national state but strongly oppose a Jewish national state.

On the eve of last Independence Day, I stood in the hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed in Tel Aviv and I promised to submit this legislation to the Cabinet and I am doing so today. I have not softened it and I have not changed anything. I have submitted the principles of the law that I believe in, the same principles that appear in the Declaration of Independence, the same principles that I absorbed in the Zionist sprit from my father, who absorbed them from Zeev Jabotinsky and from Binyamin Zeev Herzl.

Around the nationality law, and around other issues, I hear ultimatums, diktat and threats of quitting from various parts of the coalition; a country cannot be run this way. We must concentrate on strengthening security against waves of extremist Islam and the Iranian nuclear danger, on strengthening Israel’s economy and increasing citizens’ welfare – and not on threats. I believe that the heads of the parties in the coalition will unite and work in this spirit.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 11, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks for The Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly warning of a Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks for The Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly

Source: PMO, 11-11-14
יום שלישי י”ח חשון תשע”ה
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[Transcription]

Greetings to all of you, my friends, all of you who are attending the General Assembly 2014. Greetings from Jerusalem – the eternal and united capital of the Jewish people.

Michael are you speaking or am I speaking?

Thank you, Michael, and thank you all.

I want to thank my friend of many decades, Michael Siegal, for the kind introduction, and I want to thank you, Michael, for the exemplary work you’re doing as Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federations.

And I also want to acknowledge and salute DeDe Feinberg, Chair of the Executive Committee;

Jerry Silverman, the JFNA President and CEO;

and the hundreds of leaders and professionals who are there tonight, for the terrific job you do to strengthen the Jewish communities of North America and to strengthen support for Israel.

Your communities have stood resolutely by our side as Israel has defended itself time and again against enemies bent on our destruction, including during this past summer in Operation Protective Edge.

You led solidarity missions; you raised money to help those in need; and you held rallies in support for Israel. And as our soldiers defended Israel on the battlefield, you helped defend Israel in another battlefield – in the court of public opinion. And you did that by doing something very simple – you just told the truth. You told the truth about Israel’s just battle against Hamas terrorists.

I want to say two words to you: Thank you. Thank you for standing up for Israel. Thank you for standing up for the truth.

I also want to recognize Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, a true hero of the Jewish people. Natan, like you, works day and night to strengthen the Jewish future.

And finally, I want to recognize Ron Dermer, Israel’s exceptionally talented ambassador in Washington.

Thank you, Ron, for all you are doing to strengthen the bonds between Israel and the United States and between Israelis and Americans – American Jews and American non-Jews.

And by the way, Ron, you can tell Vice President Biden that I know we’re still buddies. We’ll always be buddies.

The Vice President said yesterday that we don’t always agree. That’s true.

But we definitely agree that Israel has no greater friend and ally than the United States, and that the United States has no greater friend and ally than the State of Israel.

I deeply appreciate the unique and special friendship between Israel and the United States of America, as well as the great friendship between Israel and the state of Canada.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s important to have friends like the United States and Canada because, it’s important for any country to have such alliances, but especially for a country like Israel that faces many challenges unlike any other nation on Earth.

But none of these challenges is more important than the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Our goal must not be merely to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons today. We must also prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons tomorrow.

Iran is openly committed to Israel’s destruction. And even as Iran negotiates a nuclear deal with the leading powers in the international community, its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, brazenly calls for Israel’s annihilation. These are not my words, these are his words: Israel’s annihilation.

He just did it again three days ago on his Twitter account. That’s apparently the Iranian regime’s idea of modernity – tweeting about the annihilation of Israel.

But I’m afraid these aren’t mere words. These aren’t mere words; they’re not just statements thrown out in the air, which is harmful enough. The regime in Iran’s wild rhetoric is also backed by murderous action.

Iran arms, trains, finances the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It has supplied them, and its main terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, with tens of thousands of rockets to fire on Israeli citizens. Iran perpetrates murder and mayhem throughout the Middle East – in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and elsewhere. It has spread a reign of terror across five continents – from Bangkok to Burgas, and even an attempt in Washington, DC.

Iran’s savagery abroad is also matched by its brutality at home. The ayatollah regime executes political opponents, religious and ethnic minorities, gays, feminists and journalists. And executions have increased, not decreased, under the supposedly moderate Rouhani regime.

This is how Iran acts without nuclear weapons; now imagine how Iran will act if a deal is made that leaves it as a threshold nuclear power.

My friends,

It’s obvious that Iran wants to remove the sanctions that have had such a devastating impact on its economy. But it should be equally obvious that Iran is not prepared to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return.

Unfortunately, instead of holding firm and demanding that Iran dismantle its program, the international community is reportedly, and I hope these reports do not prove to be true, but the international community is reportedly willing to leave Iran’s nuclear program largely intact. They hope to rely on intelligence and inspectors to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

I believe this would be a bad deal and a huge mistake.

We must recognize the limitations of our own intelligence gathering capabilities. Remember – for years, both Israel’s intelligence and US intelligence failed to discover Iran’s secret enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom. And given that record, there is no reason to believe that our intelligence facilities will be perfect in the future.

As for inspectors, they weren’t able to stop North Korea from getting the bomb. And if the ten year run-around that Iran has given the International Atomic Energy Agency is any indication, inspectors won’t stop Iran from getting the bomb either.

The IAEA itself has reported just last week that Iran continues to conceal the most suspicious aspects of its nuclear program from the international inspectors that are already in Iran.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some people have suggested that Iran can help America solve the problems of the Middle East.

But Iran is not part of the solution.

It’s a huge part of the problem.

The Islamic State of Iran is not a partner of America.

It’s an enemy of America.

And it should be treated as an enemy – by keeping tough sanctions on the regime; by making clear that the international community is determined to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb.

See, the worst thing that can happen now is for the international community to agree to a deal that leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear power and removes the sanctions.

That would be a disaster of historic proportions. It would embolden all of Iran’s terrorist proxies throughout the region; it would trigger a nuclear arms race between Sunnis and Shi’ites that would endanger the entire planet. And it would pose, needless to say, a grave danger to the State of Israel.

Israel cannot allow a regime committed to its destruction to develop the weapons to achieve that goal.

But the alternative to a bad deal is not war.

It means giving existing sanctions and even stronger sanctions more time to work to achieve the goal of fully dismantling Iran’s military nuclear capabilities.

To remove sanctions before that goal is reached is to remove any hope of a genuine diplomatic solution.

That is why avoiding a bad deal and maintaining strong pressure on Iran should be the policy of all responsible governments. So too, all responsible governments should help President Obama in his effort to degrade and defeat ISIS.

But as I said to the United Nations a few months ago, to defeat ISIS and allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle and lose the war.

The greatest threat facing our world is to have the forces of militant Islam get the bomb.

That must never be allowed to happen, for Israel’s sake, for the peace in the Middle East, for the peace and security of the entire world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we work to prevent the ultimate danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, we must also act forcefully to confront Palestinian terrorism and incitement.

In recent weeks, we have seen a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks against Jews across the country, including here in Jerusalem.

These attacks have been accompanied by a systemic campaign of incitement, including libels about Israel trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount and even wild allegations that we are planning to destroy Muslim holy sites.

These are false accusations. They’re absolute fabrications. Israel is fully committed to the status quo.

Last week, I spoke to King Abdullah of Jordan, and I reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintain the religious status quo on the Temple Mount.

I will continue to make every effort to restore calm, to restore quiet and security, so that all may enjoy the religious freedom guaranteed by Israeli law.

But I regret to say that the Palestinian Authority, which should also be working to calm tensions, has joined Hamas and other radical Islamists in fanning the flames.

President Abbas himself called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount. He used the words: “by any means possible.”

See, this – the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, where Jews have visited peacefully for years – President Abbas says we should not set foot there. That’s changing the status quo.

President Abbas publicly praised the Islamic Jihad terrorist who tried to murder Rabbi Yehuda Glick, declaring that the would-be assassin would, and here’s his quote: “would go to heaven as a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places.” That’s the end of the quote.

And just today President Abbas accused Jews of “contaminating,” his word – contaminating the Temple Mount.

Once again, this incitement to violence is coupled with revisionist history intended to delegitimize the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

The official Facebook page of Fatah, just turn it on, you’ll see it, you have to Google this to believe this. The official Facebook page of Fatah denies that the Jewish people have any connection to the Temple Mount or that there was ever a Temple Mount at all – a temple on the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem, the ancient City of David, like the Land of Israel, is simply erased by the Palestinians from their history books.

Unfortunately, the international community does not hold the Palestinians responsible for this sort of incitement and denial of history, and I think that’s tragic, because these distortions and this incitement are so corrosive to the effort to reach a genuine peace.

Rather than help advance peace, many in the international community are setting back the cause of peace by convincing Palestinians that they can have a state without making peace with Israel.

Recognizing a Palestinian state without demanding an end to the Palestinian Authority’s pact with Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization is absurd.

Recognizing a Palestinian nation-state without demanding that the Palestinians recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people is unjust.

Recognizing a Palestinian state without demanding an end to incitement in official Palestinian media and schools is reckless.

And recognizing a Palestinian state without demanding robust security arrangements to enable Israel to protect itself and the peace, that is dangerous.

If the issue of Palestinian statehood is brought before the UN Security Council outside the context of a peace agreement with Israel, this should be flatly rejected. If any one-sided anti-Israel resolution is brought before that council, it should be vigorously opposed.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be solved by exploiting the automatic anti-Israel majorities in the UN bodies. You can pass anything there. But that is not the way to achieve peace.

The only way to peace is through direct negotiations that address all the core issues.

Israel is ready for these negotiations; Israel is ready for peace; I am ready for peace. But it must be a genuine peace, a durable peace, and for that, we must have a Palestinian partner who is committed to forging such a genuine peace – a partner who is prepared to confront terrorism and end incitement; a partner who is prepared to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people; a partner who is prepared to address Israel’s legitimate security concerns seriously; a partner who wants a Palestinian state not to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it once and for all.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are many countries in the region today who do want to put the conflict behind us. I think that offers hope.

There are leading Sunni Arab states that are re-evaluating their traditional hostility towards Israel. They increasingly understand that the real threat to them doesn’t come from Israel. It comes from militant Sunni radicals like ISIS and from a nuclear-armed Iran.

And I believe that cooperation with these states – that are more ready to work for peace and security with Israel than ever before – I believe that cooperation with them can help open the door to peace with the Palestinians, and I believe this is possible. But for that, we need the international community to stand by Israel, to demand from the Palestinians to stop incitement and to demand from them to go for peace.

My friends,

For 66 years, the Jewish communities of North America have been dedicated partners in building the State of Israel.

You have helped us transform Israel into a global technological powerhouse, a wonder of medicine and science and innovation, a vibrant and dynamic democracy.

You have stood by Israel’s side as we forged historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and as we have worked to advance peace with the Palestinians.

And just as you have stood with Israel, Israel stands with you in confronting anti-Semitism; in strengthening Jewish identity; in working to ensure that the next generation of Jews remains just as committed to our remarkable partnership; and in ensuring that all Jews around the world know that they will always have a home in Israel.

We are one people.

We share one history,

And we have one destiny.

Thank you all.

Thank you for standing by Israel, and good bye from Jerusalem.

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

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

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

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

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

Source: WH, 10-1-14

Oval Office

11:23 A.M. EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:29 A.M. EDT

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

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

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

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

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

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

Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO

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

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

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

 

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

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

Source: Haaretz, 9-29-14

 

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

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

Israel, General Debate, 69th Session

Source: UN, 9-29-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(END)

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

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

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WATCH LIVE: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses UN General Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Upon Leaving for the US

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

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

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

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

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PM Netanyahu addresses the 4th International Cybersecurity Conference

Source: MFA,9-14-14

MFASummaryNew

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

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

Copyright: GPO/Avi Oyahon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

Israel Political Brief June 25, 2014: President Shimon Peres meets with President Barack Obama at the White House Oval Office

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

President Peres meets with President Obama

Source: MFA, 6-25-14

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“I thank you for your friendship to the State of Israel and the Jewish people – under your leadership our strategic relations have reached new heights.”
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President Peres meets with President Obama

  President Peres meets with President Obama

Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

 

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