Israel Political Brief September 26, 2011: UN Security Council Debates Palestinian Authority Statehood Bid

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

U.N. Security Council Debates PA Statehood Bid

Source: JTA, Virtual Jerusalem, 9-26-11

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to discuss the Palestinians’ bid for statehood.security council un

The council will take up the issue, likely informally, on Monday. All 15 members of the council already have received the letter of application presented to the council on Sept. 22 by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Only the Security Council has the authority to admit new member states to the United Nations. There are currently 193 member states.

The five permanent members of the council have veto power; the United States has said it will veto the request.

Due to the veto threat, it is unlikely that a formal vote will be taken in the near future.

via jta.org

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Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2011: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the UN / United Nations Full Text Transcript Excerpts

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Remarks by Israeli PM Netanyahu to the U.N. General Assembly


Photo of Benjamin Netanyahu by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City, New York

Remarks by Israeli PM Netanyahu to the U.N. General Assembly

MR. : Theassembly will now hear a statement by His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the State of Israel.

I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the state of Israel.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMINNETANYAHU: Thank you. Thank you.

MR. : Iinvite him to address the General Assembly.

PRIME MIN. NETANYAHU:Thank you, Mr. President.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israelhas extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago.On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. Iextend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship forneighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey,with respect and good will. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia,with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it tothe other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we wantto forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran,with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extendmy hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, inIsrael our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, and innovatorsapply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers,enrich the heritage of humanity. Now, I know that this is not exactly the imageof Israel that is often portrayed in this hall. After all, it was here in 1975that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in ourancient biblical homeland — it was then that this was branded shamefully, as racism. And it was here in 1980, right here, that thehistoric peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised; it wasdenounced! And it’s here, year after year that Israel is unjustly singled outfor condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all thenations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assemblyresolutions condemn Israel — the one true democracy in the Middle East.

Well, this is an unfortunatepart of the U.N. institution. It’s the theater of the absurd. It doesn’tonly cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles:Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraqheaded the U.N. Committee on Disarmament. You might say: That’s thepast. Well, here’s what’s happening now — right now, today,  Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the U.N. Security Council. Thismeans, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrustedwith guaranteeing the world’s security.

You couldn’t make this thingup.

So here in the U.N.,automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets rises in the west. But they can also decide — they have decided — that the Western Wall inJerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

And yet even here in the GeneralAssembly, the truth can sometimes break through. In 1984 when I was appointedIsrael’s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi ofLubavich. He said to me — and ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want any of you tobe offended because from personal experience of serving here, I know there aremany honorable men and women, many capable and decent people, serving their nations here — But here’s what the rebbe said to me. He said to me, you’ll beserving in a house of many lies. And then he said, remember that even in thedarkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.

Today I hope that the lightof truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long hasbeen a place of darkness for my country. So as Israel’s prime minister, Ididn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth. The truth is — the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth isthat I want peace. The truth is that in the Middle East at all times, butespecially during these turbulent days, peace must be anchored in security. Thetruth is that we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions, but onlythrough direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far thePalestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peacewith a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. Andthe truth is you shouldn’t let that happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, when Ifirst came here 27 years ago, the world was divided between East and West.Since then the Cold War ended, great civilizations have risen from centuries ofslumber, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, countless moreare poised to follow, and the remarkable thing is that so far this monumentalhistoric shift has largely occurred peacefully. Yet a malignancy is now growingbetween East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not toliberate, but to enslave, not to build, but to destroy.

That malignancy is militantIslam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews,Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality. On September 11thit killed thousands of Americans, and it left the twin towers in smolderingruins. Last night I laid a wreath on the 9/11 memorial. It was deeply moving.But as I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words ofthe president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was anAmerican conspiracy. Some of you left this hall. All of you should have.

Since 9/11, militantIslamists slaughtered countless other innocents — in London and Madrid, inBaghdad and Mumbai, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in every part of Israel. Ibelieve that the greatest danger facing our world is that this fanaticism willarm itself with nuclear weapons. And this is precisely what Iran is trying todo.

Can you imagine that man whoranted here yesterday — can you imagine him armed with nuclear weapons? Theinternational community must stop Iran before it’s too late. If Iran is notstopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism, and the Arab Springcould soon become an Iranian winter.

That would be a tragedy. Millions of Arabshave taken to the streets to replace tyranny with liberty, and no one wouldbenefit more than Israel if those committed to freedom and peace would prevail.

This is my fervent hope. Butas the prime minister of Israel, I cannot risk the future of the Jewish stateon wishful thinking. Leaders must see reality as it is, not as it ought to be.We must do our best to shape the future, but we cannot wish away the dangers ofthe present.

And the world around Israelis definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken overLebanon and Gaza. It’s determined to tear apart the peace treaties betweenIsrael and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It’s poisoned many Arab mindsagainst Jews and Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not thepolicies of Israel but the existence of Israel.

Now, some argue that thespread of militant Islam, especially in these turbulent times — if you want toslow it down, they argue, Israel must hurry to make concessions, to maketerritorial compromises. And this theory sounds simple. Basically it goes likethis: Leave the territory, and peace will be advanced. The moderates will bestrengthened, the radicals will be kept at bay. And don’t worry about the peskydetails of how Israel will actually defend itself; international troops will dothe job.

These people say to meconstantly: Just make a sweeping offer, and everything will work out. You know,there’s only one problem with that theory. We’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked.In 2000 Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of thePalestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched aterror attack that claimed a thousand Israeli lives.

Prime Minister Olmertafterwards made an even more sweeping offer, in 2008. President Abbas didn’teven respond to it.

But Israel did more than justmake sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn’t calm the Islamicstorm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the stormcloser and made it stronger.

Hezbollah and Hamas firedthousands of rockets against our cities from the very territories we vacated.See, when Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn’t defeat theradicals, the moderates were devoured by the radicals. And I regret to say thatinternational troops like UNIFIL in Lebanon and EUBAM in Gaza didn’t stopthe radicals from attacking Israel.

We left Gaza hoping forpeace.

We didn’t freeze thesettlements in Gaza, we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says: Getout, go back to the 1967 borders, dismantle the settlements.

And I don’t think peopleremember how far we went to achieve this. We uprooted thousands of people fromtheir homes. We pulled children out of — out of their schools and theirkindergartens. We bulldozed synagogues. We even — we even moved loved onesfrom their graves. And then, having done all that, we gave the keys of Gaza toPresident Abbas.

Now the theory says it shouldall work out, and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could builda peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded.They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship. It was a boldact of peace.

But ladies and gentlemen, wedidn’t get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy Hamaspromptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authoritycollapsed in a day — in one day.

President Abbas just said onthis podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams.Yeah, hopes, dreams and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, notto mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai,from Libya, and from elsewhere.

Thousands of missiles havealready rained down on our cities. So you might understand that, given allthis, Israelis rightly ask: What’s to prevent this from happening again in theWest Bank? See, most of our major cities in the south of the country are withina few dozen kilometers from Gaza. But in the center of the country, oppositethe West Bank, our cities are a few hundred meters or at most a few kilometersaway from the edge of the West Bank.

So I want to ask you. Wouldany of you — would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, to yourfamilies? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens? Israelis are prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re notprepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have realsecurity arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate withus.

Israelis remember the bitterlessons of Gaza. Many of Israel’s critics ignore them. They irresponsiblyadvise Israel to go down this same perilous path again. Your read what thesepeople say and it’s as if nothing happened — just repeating the same advice,the same formulas as though none of this happened.

And these critics continue topress Israel to make far-reaching concessions without first assuring Israel’ssecurity. They praise those who unwittingly feed the insatiable crocodile ofmilitant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us whoinsist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out, orat the very least jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.

So in the face of the labelsand the libels, Israel must heed better advice. Better a bad press than a goodeulogy, and better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extendsbeyond breakfast, and which recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

I believe that in seriouspeace negotiations, these needs and concerns can be properly addressed, butthey will not be addressed without negotiations. And the needs are many,because Israel is such a tiny country. Without Judea and Samaria, the WestBank, Israel is all of 9 miles wide.

I want to put it for you inperspective, because you’re all in the city. That’s about two-thirds the lengthof Manhattan. It’s the distance between Battery Park and Columbia University.And don’t forget that the people who live in Brooklyn and New Jersey areconsiderably nicer than some of Israel’s neighbors.

So how do you — how do youprotect such a tiny country, surrounded by people sworn to its destruction andarmed to the teeth by Iran? Obviously you can’t defend it from within thatnarrow space alone. Israel needs greater strategic depth, and that’s exactlywhy Security Council Resolution 242 didn’t require Israel to leave all theterritories it captured in the Six-Day War. It talked about withdrawal fromterritories, to secure and defensible boundaries. And to defend itself, Israelmust therefore maintain a long-term Israeli military presence in criticalstrategic areas in the West Bank.

I explained this to PresidentAbbas. He answered that if a Palestinian state was to be a sovereign country,it could never accept such arrangements. Why not? America has had troops inJapan, Germany and South Korea for more than a half a century. Britain has hadan an air base in Cyprus. France has forces inthree independent African nations. None of these states claim that they’re notsovereign countries.

And there are many othervital security issues that also must be addressed. Take the issue of airspace.Again, Israel’s small dimensions create huge security problems. America can becrossed by jet airplane in six hours. To fly across Israel, it takes threeminutes. So is Israel’s tiny airspace to be chopped in half and given to aPalestinian state not at peace with Israel?

Our major internationalairport is a few kilometers away from the West Bank. Without peace, will ourplanes become targets for antiaircraft missiles placed in the adjacentPalestinian state? And how will we stop the smuggling into the West Bank? It’snot merely the West Bank, it’s the West Bank mountains. It just dominates thecoastal plain where most of Israel’s population sits below. How could weprevent the smuggling into these mountains of those missiles that could befired on our cities?

I bring up these problemsbecause they’re not theoretical problems. They’re very real. And for Israelis,they’re life-and- death matters. All these potential cracks in Israel’ssecurity have to be sealed in a peace agreement before a Palestinian state isdeclared, not afterwards, because if you leave it afterwards, they won’t besealed. And these problems will explode in our face and explode the peace.

The Palestinians should firstmake peace with Israel and then get their state. But I also want to tell youthis. After such a peace agreement is signed, Israel will not be the lastcountry to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations.We will be the first.

And there’s one more thing.Hamas has been violating international law by holding our soldier Gilad Shalitcaptive for five years.

They haven’t given even oneRed Cross visit. He’s held in a dungeon, in darkness, against all internationalnorms. Gilad Shalit is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit. He is the grandson ofZvi Shalit, who escaped the Holocaust by coming to the — in the 1930s as a boyto the land of Israel. Gilad Shalit is the son of every Israeli family. Everynation represented here should demand his immediate release. If youwant to pass a resolution about the Middle East today, that’sthe resolution you should pass.

Ladies and gentlemen, lastyear in Israel in Bar-Ilan University, this year in the Knesset and in the U.S.Congress, I laid out my vision for peace in which a demilitarized Palestinianstate recognizes the Jewish state. Yes, the Jewish state. After all, this isthe body that recognized the Jewish state 64 years ago. Now, don’t you thinkit’s about time that Palestinians did the same?

The Jewish state of Israelwill always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1million Arab citizens of Israel. I wish I could say the same thing about afuture Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day– in fact, I think they made it right here in New York — they said thePalestinian state won’t allow any Jews in it. They’ll be Jew-free — Judenrein.That’s ethnic cleansing. There are laws today in Ramallah that make the sellingof land to Jews punishable by death. That’s racism. And you know which lawsthis evokes.

Israel has no intentionwhatsoever to change the democratic character of our state. We just don’t wantthe Palestinians to try to change the Jewish character of our state. We want to give up — we want them to give up the fantasy offlooding Israel with millions of Palestinians.

President Abbas just stoodhere, and he said that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is thesettlements. Well, that’s odd. Our conflict has been raging for — was raging fornearly half a century before there was a single Israeli settlement in the WestBank. So if what President Abbas is saying was true, then the — I guess thatthe settlements he’s talking about are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva.Maybe that’s what he meant the other day when he said that Israel has beenoccupying Palestinian land for 63 years. He didn’t say from 1967; he said from1948. I hope somebody will bother to ask him this question because itillustrates a simple truth: The core of the conflict is not the settlements.The settlements are a result of the conflict..

The settlements have to be –it’s an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the course ofnegotiations. But the core of the conflict has always been and unfortunatelyremains the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in anyborder.

I think it’s time that thePalestinian leadership recognizes what every serious international leader hasrecognized, from Lord Balfour and Lloyd George in 1917, to President Truman in1948, to President Obama just two days ago right here: Israel is the Jewishstate.

President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state, and make peace with us. In sucha genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believethat the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel nor itssubjects. They should live in a free state of their own. But they should beready, like us, for compromise. And we will know that they’re ready forcompromise and for peace when they start taking Israel’s security requirementsseriously and when they stop denying our historical connection to our ancienthomeland.

I often hear them accuseIsrael of Judaizing Jerusalem. That’s like accusing America of AmericanizingWashington, or the British of Anglicizing London. You know why we’re called”Jews”? Because we come from Judea.

In my office in Jerusalem,there’s a — there’s an ancient seal. It’s a signet ring of a Jewish officialfrom the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall,and it dates back 2,700 years, to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there’s aname of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name wasNetanyahu. That’s my last name. My first name, Benjamin, dates back a thousandyears earlier to Benjamin — Binyamin — the son of Jacob, who was also knownas Israel. Jacob and his 12 sons roamed these same hills of Judea and Samaria4,000 years ago, and there’s been a continuous Jewish presence in the land eversince.

And for those Jews who wereexiled from our land, they never stopped dreaming of coming back: Jews inSpain, on the eve of their expulsion; Jews in the Ukraine, fleeing the pogroms;Jews fighting the Warsaw Ghetto, as the Nazis were circling around it. Theynever stopped praying, they never stopped yearning. They whispered: Next yearin Jerusalem. Next year in the promised land.

As the prime minister ofIsrael, I speak for a hundred generations of Jews who were dispersed throughoutthe lands, who suffered every evil under the Sun, but who never gave up hope ofrestoring their national life in the one and only Jewish state.

Ladies and gentlemen, Icontinue to hope that President Abbas will be my partner in peace. I’ve workedhard to advance that peace. The day I came into office, I called for directnegotiations without preconditions. President Abbas didn’t respond. I outlineda vision of peace of two states for two peoples. He still didn’t respond. Iremoved hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints, to ease freedom of movement inthe Palestinian areas; this facilitated a fantastic growth in the Palestinianeconomy. But again — no response. I took the unprecedented step of freezingnew buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did thatbefore, ever. Once again — you applaud, but there was noresponse. No response.

In the last few weeks,American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There werethings in those ideas about borders that I didn’t like. There were things thereabout the Jewish state that I’m sure the Palestinians didn’t like.

But with all my reservations,I was willing to move forward on these American ideas.

President Abbas, why don’tyou join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let’s just geton with it. Let’s negotiate peace.

I spent years defendingIsrael on the battlefield. I spent decades defending Israel in the court ofpublic opinion. President Abbas, you’ve dedicated your life to advancing thePalestinian cause. Must this conflict continue for generations, or will we be able our children and our grandchildren to speak in years ahead of how wefound a way to end it? That’s what we should aim for, and that’s what I believewe can achieve.

In two and a half years, wemet in Jerusalem only once, even though my door has always been open to you. Ifyou wish, I’ll come to Ramallah. Actually, I have a better suggestion. We’veboth just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we’re in the same city.We’re in the same building. So let’s meet here today in the United Nations. Who’s there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we genuinelywant peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peacenegotiations?

And I suggest we talk openlyand honestly. Let’s listen to one another. Let’s do as we say in the MiddleEast: Let’s talk “doogri”. That means straightforward. I’ll tellyou my needs and concerns. You’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’llfind the common ground of peace.

There’s an old Arab sayingthat you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. Icannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you. President Abbas, Iextend my hand — the hand of Israel — in peace. I hope that you will graspthat hand. We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Yourpeople call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the sameland. Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah –(Isaiah 9:1in Hebrew) — “The people who walk in darkness will see a greatlight.” Let that light be the light of peace.

Netanyahu at the UN: Let’s Make Peace Today, Here at the UN!

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-23-11

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations only minutes after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for Recognition of a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders. Abbas’ speech received thunderous applause.

Netanyahu took the floor, and quickly made one thing clear. “I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth.”

Netanyahu began by saying that, “Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago.” The Prime Minister went on to offer a hand in peace to Turkey, “with respect,” to Egypt and Jordan with “hope of renewed friendship”, and even mentioned the people of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Libya, Tunisia and Iran. Netanyahu then paused before saying, “But most especially I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.”

Netanyahu spoke a moment about Israel and the great contributions made by the people of Israel to the international community in science, medicine and art. He then said,
“I know this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed in this hall.”

He added, “It is here, year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation, more often than all the nations of the world combined! Twenty-one out of the twenty-seven General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. This is unfortunate… it is the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain, but it often casts villains in leading roles…. Hizbuillah controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over a body entrusted to guard world security. You couldn’t make these things up!”

He spoke candidly saying, “So here in the UN’s automatic majority, you can decide anything… that the sun rises in the west. It can be decided that Jerusalem, Israel’s holiest place is occupied Palestinian territory. But even here the truth can break through sometimes.”

Netanyahu then told a story of words imparted to him by the Lubavitch Rebbe in 1984 upon Netanyahu’s appointment as delegate to the United Nations. “The Rebbe said to me… you will be serving in a house of many lies. but remember that even in the darkest place, the light of one single candle can be seen far and wide. so i hope this light will be seen even for two minutes in a hall that for too long as been a dark one for my people.”

Netanyahu told the Assembly: “The truth is Israel wants peace. The truth is I want peace… the truth is, we cannot achieve peace through resolutions. The truth is Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the truth is the Palestinians want a state without peace.”

The Prime Minister spoke in length regarding the threat of militant Islam and the tragic consequences it has imposed on Western Society. He spoke of 9/11, reminding the Assembly what the President of Iran had said only hours before from the same podium, accusing the Americans for conspiring 9/11. Netanyahu looked at the audience and said: “Some of you walked out. All of you should have.”

He reminded those present of the attacks carried out in the name of militant Islam, the bombings in Madrid, Mumbai, London, and the constant terror imposed on the Israeli people. He spoke on the dangers of these powers should they acquire nuclear abilities, as Iran is attempting to do.” If Iran is not stopped, the Arab spring will soon be an Iranian winter.”

“To many people, the solution sounds simple… leave the territories and there will be peace. There’s only one problem… we’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked.”

“In 2000 we made the Palestinians a peace offer meeting virtually all of their demands. They rejected it. They then launched an initiative of terror claiming 1000 Israeli lives… We did more than make offers. We left territories. We left Lebanon in 2000, we left every square inch of Gaza in 2005… and this did not calm the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought it closer and made it stronger. Hizbullah and Hamas sent thousands of rockets from the territories we vacated… see, when we left Gaza, the moderates didn’t defeat the radicals, they were devoured by the radicals.

… we left Gaza hoping for peace. we didn’t freeze the settlements in Gaza. we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says, we got out.

I don’t think people remember how far we went to achieve this. We pulled thousands of people from their homes. We pulled children out of their kindergartens, we bulldozed synagogues, we even moved loved ones from their graves… and then having done all that we gave the keys of Gaza to president Abbas.

The theory says it should all work out… and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship, a bold act of peace.

But we did not get peace, we got war. We got Iran. Which through its proxy Hamas, promptly kicked put the Palestinian Authority which collapsed in ONE day, in a day.
President Abbas just said Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams, yes, hopes and dreams and ten thousand missiles and grad rockets supplied by Iran. Not to mention the river of lethal weapons flowing into Gaza from Libya and Syria through the Sinai.

Thousands of missiles have already rained down on our cities. So you might understand that given all this, Israelis ask, what’s to prevent this happening again in the West Bank? See, most of our cities in the south of Israel are within 2 kilometers from Gaza, but in the center of the country, our cities are a few hundred meters away from the edge of the West Bank.

So i want to ask you, would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, your families? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens? Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepped to have another Gaza there. Which is why we need to have real security…”

Hitting back at the critics of Israel, Netanyahu said: “There are those who want to cast the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist we erect a barrier to keep the crocodile out.. or at the very least jam an iron bar between its jaws.”

He added, “But better a bad press than a good eulogy.”

After contrasting the size of Israel with the size of Manhattan, Netanyahu asked the Assembly members what they would do in his situation.

In response to the critics who claim that Israel is “judaizing Jerusalem,” he stated, “That’s like saying that in the US you are Americanizing Washington of Anglo-izing London. You know why we’re called Jews? Because we come from Judea!”

After explaining why Israel cannot make peace without the Palestinians recognition of a Jewish state, he called upon President Abbas to meet with him to discuss peace today in New York.

“In two and a half years we met in Jerusalem only once though my door has been open to you. If you want, I will go to Ramallah, or better yet, we both flew thousands of miles to come here, to New York. We’re in the same city. We’re in the same building!

Let’s meet here today, in the United Nations. What’s to stop us? Let’s listen to one another… let’s talk “dogri.” [straight up.]

I’ll tell you my needs, you’ll tell me yours, and with God’s help, we’ll find the common ground of peace… I cannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you.

President Abbas, I extend my hand, the hand of Israel in peace. I hope you will grasp that hand… we are both sons of Abraham, we share the same patriarch, we share the same land, and our histories are intertwined.”

Israel Political Brief September 23, 2011: Excerpts from Mahmoud Abbas & PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speeches at the UN (United Nations) on Israel & Palestinian Statehood Request

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Abbas: ‘Palestine Is Waiting to Be Born’; Netanyahu: ‘Israel Wants Peace’

Source: PBS Newshour, 9-23-11

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas submitted a formal request for U.N. membership Friday, saying negotiations with Israel had repeatedly broken down without results.

Abbas urged the Security Council to vote for full membership, and he called on countries that hadn’t done so already to recognize the state of Palestine.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to speak soon. Watch the U.N. General Assembly speeches live here:

Abbas said Palestinians are seeking a greater and more effective role in the United Nations to obtain legitimate national rights for the Palestinian people, as defined by U.N. resolutions of international legitimacy.

He held up a copy of the application to loud cheers in the U.N. chamber.

The Israeli government isn’t committing to the terms of the negotiations based on international law and continues to build settlements in Palestinian territories, Abbas said.

“This policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-State solution upon which there is an international consensus, and here I caution aloud: This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence,” he said, according to translators.

Negotiations will be meaningless as long as Israel advances its occupation in order to alter its borders, he said.

He ended his speech by saying “Palestine is waiting to be born.”

Read the text of Abbas’ remarks as prepared for delivery here.

Photo of Benjamin Netanyahu by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.N. General Assembly later in the afternoon, saying Israel wants peace despite its reputation among some in the United Nations.

“In Israel, our hope for peace never wanes,” Netanyahu said, but “we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions but through negotiations between the two parties.”

He said the Palestinians don’t want negotiations.

As for settlements, Netanyahu said that in Gaza, the Israelis uprooted thousands of people from their homes, took children out of schools, leveled synagogues and unburied some graves.

“But ladies and gentlemen, we didn’t get peace. We got war,” he said. And Israel is called upon to make increasing concessions without ensuring its security.

“The Palestinians should make peace with Israel and then get their state,” said Netanyahu.

The U.N. website did not have the text of Netanyahu’s remarks. Statements are supplied by the country of origin.

The Obama administration has promised to veto the Palestinian request for membership if the U.N. Security Council takes it up, saying it would circumvent the peace process with Israel.

 

Israel Political Brief September 23, 2011: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Speech at the UN / United Nations Full Text Transcript Excerpts

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Abbas: Israel is Occupying Power Guilty of Apartheid

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-23-11

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took the stage at the United Nations General Assembly, minutes after he submitted an official request to General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon for full membership for “Palestine” to the body of the United Nations.

To thunderous applause, Abbas called for a Palestinian state with the “Full borders of June 4, 1967” to be inducted as a full member of the United Nations. Telling the General Assembly that it is time for a “Palestinian Spring,” one theme consistently repeated itself: Israelis are merely an occupying power.

Highlights from Abbas’ speech:

“The Occupying Power continues to intensify, building settlements on the future state of Palestine.”

“Colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people… all the brutality and.. oppression [by the Israelis] …this is a primary cause of the failure of the peace process.”

“[Israelis continue] the systematic confiscation of Palestinian lands and the construction of thousands of new settlements in areas in the West Bank particularly in the Arab part of Jerusalem…”

“The racist wall [is] eating up vast parts of our land, creating seperated islands… destroying families and communiteis… destroying family lives of thousands….”

“[The Israelis] multi prong policy of ethnic cleansing is pushing Palestinian refugees away from their ancestral homeland.”
abbas un
“The occupying power also does excavations that threaten our holy places.”

“[The Israelis] besiege the Holy City with a ring of settlements and an annexation wall intended to separate the holy city from its people.”

“The occupying power continues to impose a strict blockade on the Gaza strip and target Palestinian citizens with air-strikes.”

“Because we believe in peace and because of our convictions and because we have the courage to make difficult decisions… we have decided to take the path of some justice… we agreed to establish the state of Palestine on only 22% of the state of Palestine…”

“Criminal actions of armed civilian militias.. have intensified with frequent attacks against our people targeting schools, universities, mosques, fields, crops, and trees.
Today they killed one Palestinian… despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Israelis have not tried to stop these acts, we hold them fully responsible for crimes of the settlers.”

“Every move [toward peace] was shattered on the rocks of the expansion of the Israeli settlement projects.”

“The goal of the Palestinian people is a realization … for an independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, with all the land of the West Bank including the Gaza strip, and all of East Jerusalem.”

Abbas described the Palestinians as “Defenseless people only with their dreams, courage and hope.. against bullets, bombs and bulldozers.”

“When we bring our plight here…. it is obvious we are not taking unilateral steps, our intention is not to de-legitimize israel, only the settlement activities and apartheid policies.
We hope all nations in world stand with us on this regard.”

Abbas also stated that while the Palestinians have their “arms open wide” and have made every attempt at peace, they are willing to sit down “today” at the negotiation table with only a few pre-conditions, which include:

1. The release of “prisoners of freedom” and Palestinians in Israeli prisons without delay.
2. The Palestinian Liberation Organization and its people adhere to the denouncement of violence, rejecting of terrorism in all its forms, especially “State terrorism.”
3. The right to “peacefully protest”Israel’s apartheid policies.

The dramatic speech ended with: “It is very simple. Either there are those who believe we are unnecessary, an unnecessary people… or people who believe we a missing state that needs to be established.”

Israel Political Brief September 22, 2011: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians Formally Statehood Recognition from the UN / United Nations

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: PALESTINIANS FORMALLY REQUEST STATEHOOD RECOGNITION FROM THE UN / UNITED NATIONS

Palestinians Formally Request U.N. Membership: Resisting American pressure, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority formally requested full United Nations membership on Friday as a path toward statehood, rejecting arguments by the United States and Israel that it was not a substitute for direct negotiations for peace in the Middle East.
Mr. Abbas handed a letter requesting the membership to Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General, before delivering his speech at the annual General Assembly. Mr. Ban was submitting the request to the Security Council…. – NYT, 9-23-11

 

  • Abbas stakes Palestinian claim to state at U.N.: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to recognize a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move.
    “We extend our hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peacemaking,” Abbas said in a speech setting out his case to the U.N. General Assembly, which greeted him with a standing ovation…. – Reuters, 9-23-11
  • Palestinian leader asks UN to recognize state: The Palestinian president on Friday formally asked the United Nations to recognize a state of Palestine, defying U.S. and Israeli opposition. The application risks a threatened American veto, and sidesteps nearly two decades of troubled negotiations…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • Palestinians Set to Submit Bid for Membership to the United Nations: Abbas is scheduled to speak around noon ET Friday. Three speakers later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also slated to address the U.N. General Assembly…. – PBS Newshour, 9-23-11
  • Abbas asks for statehood: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for statehood recognition at the United Nations.
    Abbas handed his application to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday morning, shortly ahead of his planned speech to the General Assembly.
    The request will to the Security Council, where it requires a nine-vote majority to pass. However, any of the five permanent Security Council nations can veto it, and the United States has vowed to exercise its veto.
    In that case, Abbas has said, he will take his case to the General Assembly, where he will ask for enhanced status…. – JTA, 9-23-11
  • Abbas Already Presented Official Request to UN: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has already presentedpalestinian poster the official request for full membership of the United Nations body to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon.
    The request was presented just moments before Abbas is scheduled to take the floor and address the General Assembly, requesting full membership for “Palestine.”
    Thousands are gathered in the streets of the Palestinian territories, watching the speech on enormous screens, and waving Palestinian flags. In Ramallah, one man dressed as Yassar Arafat walked around the town to strengthen the “national spirit.”… – Virtual Jerusalem, 9-23-11

Israel Political Brief September 22, 2011: Reactions — US Jews give Obama mixed reviews for ‘pro-Israel’ UN speech

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U.S. Jews give Obama mixed reviews for ‘pro-Israel’ UN speech

AIPAC lauds U.S. President for seeing Israelis deserve ‘normal relations with their neighbors’; Americans for Peace Now: U.S. position as defender of rights cannot stand as Israeli-Palestinians conflict ‘left to fester’

Source: Ha’aertz, 9-22-11
It was quite clear that U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech, which Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he “would sign with both hands,” would draw mixed reactions. Its failure to go into details about the Israeli-Palestinian issue was assumed to be due to a combination of re-election concerns and those of slipping Jewish support.

But the U.S. Jewish organizations provided varying – in some cases even polar – responses to the speech.

Obama at UN - Reuters - September 21, 2011 U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, September 21, 2011.
Photo by: Reuters

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), which recently launched a new website explaining Obama’s support for Israel, took the speech as an opportunity to claim that all the “political chatter” doubting the president’s support for Israel should be “put to bed once and for all.”

“As he has proven throughout his presidency, President Obama supports Israel and its people instinctively. Israel truly has no better friend in the world today,” NJDC leaders Marc Stanley and David Harris said in a joint statement Wednesday.

“On behalf of the National Jewish Democratic Council’s Board of Directors and leadership, we wish to express our thanks to President Barack Obama for passionately and eloquently standing up for Israel and the Jewish State’s security needs at the United Nations today,” they said.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) welcomed the speech. “AIPAC appreciates the President’s “unshakeable” commitment to Israel’s security and his clear statements outlining the daily dangers and strategic threats facing Israel. President Obama demonstrated his understanding of Israel’s legitimate requirements when he stated that the Jewish people – in their historic homeland – deserve recognition and normal relations with their neighbors,” the Jewish lobby said.

American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris said “President Obama’s message was crystal clear that the only path to sustainable peace is direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, not what goes on in the corridors of the UN.”

The Conference of Presidents Chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein welcomed Obama’s comments at the opening session of the UN General Assembly in support of direct negotiations, and his rejection of solutions imposed by outside parties, unilateral moves, or one sided declarations at the United Nations.

“The President correctly and clearly identified Israel’s security needs and challenges,” said the Conference of Presidents heads.

“The President said that “the Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland” and that “Israel deserves recognition.” We specially note this formulation not only because it reaffirmed a historic truth but also because many in the hall he was addressing have sought to deny Israel’s ancient and constant connection to the land and others have refuse to recognize it as the Jewish State,” their statement continued.

“We hope that other leaders will listen to President Obama’s words and heed his warnings,” they said, adding, “Most of all, we hope that the automatic majority against Israel at the UN will come to consider the danger to that institution and to the cause of peace that results from a blanket acceptance of anti-Israel measures no matter how unjustified they may be.”

Jewish Council for Public Affairs President Rabbi Steve Gutow praised Obama for saying the United States is dedicated to achieving peace through bilateral negotiations.

“He (Obama) understands that peace is a cooperative venture. It needs leaders, partners, supporters, witnesses, and principled advocates. No sustainable peace can be achieved alone,” said the Rabbi. “The path to peace is paved with compromise and cooperation, not unilateralism.”

But on the left side of the map, the disappointment was palpable.

Americans for Peace Now President and CEO Debra DeLee said Obama’s speech, while saying the Americans support peace, offered little hope to Israelis and Palestinians.

“Israelis want and deserve peace and security as much as anyone in the region. Palestinians want and deserve freedom and self-determination as much as Egyptians, Tunisians, or Libyans. The United States cannot maintain credibility as the standard-bearer of rights and freedoms while the Israeli-Palestinians conflict is left to fester,” said DeLee.

DeLee called upon the U.S. President to use his time at the United Nations this week as an opportunity to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations. “Only this can re-establish and re-assert U.S. credibility and re-inject hope for an end to this conflict,” she said.

The Jewish Voice for Peace issued a statement calling the speech “profoundly disappointing”, claiming that “his desire to get re-elected in 2012 has trumped not only his good sense, but his ability to act on behalf of U.S.– and in the long run– Israel’s best interests.”

The group accused Obama of catering to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demands, seen in his refusal “to even mention the words settlement or occupation”. The statement said Obama is “actively opposing Palestinian moves for statehood that are consistent with stated U.S. policy.”

J Street has rejected the Palestinian UN bid, and its President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement that Obama was right to say there is “no shortcut” to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that Obama must turn this “crisis” into “an opportunity to jumpstart meaningful diplomacy that yields results.”

In a statement, Orthodox Union president Dr. Simcha Katz and director of public policy Nathan Diament congratulated Obama “for his clear statement of opposition to the Palestinians’ effort to unilaterally seek recognition at the United Nations instead of at the negotiating table with Israel. We also commend President Obama’s strong statements of support for Israel and his Administration’s commitment to Israel’s security.”

 

 

Israel Political Brief September 22, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Pro-Israel Support at UN Delights Israeli Government

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Obama Backing Delights Israeli Government

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-22-11

When Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman praises US President Barack Obama, it is no wonder that the Palestinians and their supporters are upset. In yesterday’s speech to the UN General Assembly, Obama was actually directing his remarks at one of his most important domestic audiences – Jewish voters in the US, whose traditional support for the Democrats has been wavering in the run up for next year’s US elections.

Obama spoke at length on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but his message to the Palestinians could be summed up in one phrase: there are no shortcuts to peace.

Barack said, “One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, obama at the unand I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves.”

Obama added, “Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek — the question is how do we reach that goal.”

Obama’s message to US Jews was, “But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.”

The Palestinians did not have high hopes, as the US has been lobbying heavily on UN Security Council members to vote against giving Palestine UN membership. But they had hoped that Obama would reiterate his May structure for ending the conflict, specifically that the 1967 border would be the basis for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

The Palestinians also hoped to hear criticism of Israel’s settlements, which every US government since the Johnson administration has considered illegal.

Instead, Obama’s remarks were fully pro-Israel, as if written by parameters set by the Netanyahu government. The remark “there is no short cut to the end of a conflict” -i.e. forget about a UN vote – grabbed the listeners attention.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is celebrating. So is AIPAC. The Palestinians are furious. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) put his hands to his head in a gesture of despair.

For the full text of the speech, click here.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – http://www.globes-online.com

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama Addresses the (UN) United Nations General Assembly About Israel & Opposing Palestinian Statehood — Obama Meets with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Deserves ‘Badge of honor’

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

IN FOCUS: UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN BID FOR STATEHOOD

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and Palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them, on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.” — President Barack Obama Speaking at the UN

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the (UN) United Nations General Assembly About Israel & Opposing Palestinian Statehood (Transcript) WH, 9-21-11

Full Text September 21, 2011: Statements by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as They Began their Meeting at the UN General Assembly (Transcript) WH, 9-21-11

Obama: No short cut to peace in Middle East: President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that there could be no short cut to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as he sought to head off a looming diplomatic crisis for the Middle East and U.S. policy there…. – AP, 9-21-11

    • Obama seeks to save Mideast policy from U.N. debacle: Addressing world leaders at the opening of a U.N. General Assembly session, Obama — whose earlier peace initiatives accomplished little — put the onus on the two sides to break a yearlong impasse and get back to the negotiating table…. – Reuters, 9-21-11

“I want to thank you Mr. President for standing with Israel and supporting peace. We both agree that Palestinians and Israelis should sit down and negotiate. … This is the only way to get a stable and durable peace.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“The bonds between the U.S. and Israel are unbreakable. Peace cannot be imposed on the parties. It’s going to have to be negotiated. … The ultimate goal of all of us is two states side-by-side living in peace.” — President Barack Obama

    • Netanyahu to Obama: ‘Badge of honor’ on Palestinians: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama today that his opposition to United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood is “a badge of honor.”
      Obama met with Netanyahu after speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, where he urged members not to recognize a new Palestinian state so that the Palestinians and Israelis could work out difficult issues…. – USA Today, 9-21-11
    • “Standing Your Ground (On Israel) Is A Badge of Honor”: Before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning at the UN, President Obama said that “the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable.”
      The president, who has publicly clashed with Netanyahu in the past, delivered a message at the UN today that contained little to rankle the conservative Israeli leader, given their mutual opposition to the Palestinian bid for statehood before any peace treaty has been worked out…. – ABC News, 9-21-11
    • Benjamin Netanyahu: President Obama deserves ‘badge of honor’: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised President Barack Obama’s efforts to dissuade Palestinian leaders from pushing for a United Nations vote on statehood, calling Obama’s actions a “badge of honor” for the president. … – Politico, 9-21-11
    • Netanyahu tells Obama Palestinian UN bid doomed: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that direct negotiation was the only way to achieve a stable Middle East peace and the Palestinian effort to secure UN recognition of statehood “will not succeed.”…. – Ynetnews, 9-21-11
    • Obama, at U.N., Explains Rationale for Opposing Palestinian Statehood Bid: President Obama declared his opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood through the Security Council on Wednesday, throwing the weight of the United States directly in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
      “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Mr. Obama said, in an address before world leaders at the General Assembly. “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”
      Instead, Mr. Obama said, the international community should continue to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four intractable “final status” issues that have vexed peace negotiations since 1979: the borders of a Palestinian state, security for Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees who left or were forced to leave their homes in Israel, and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital…. – NYT, 9-21-11
    • Obama urges U.N. to stay out of Israel-Palestinian conflict: President Obama urged world leaders Wednesday morning to stay out of the conflict over Palestinian statehood as American diplomats pushed to delay a vote on the question during this week’s general assembly of the United Nations.
      Speaking to the full assembly, Obama argued that the two sides will never live in peace unless they work it out themselves.
      Obama was scheduled to meet privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately after his morning address, and then to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late in the afternoon…. – LAT, 9-21-11
    • Obama: No ‘Shortcut’ to Peace Between Israelis, Palestinians: AP President Obama speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Sept. 21. President Obama said Wednesday there is no “shortcut” to Middle East peace, as he urged the Palestinians to abandon their push for a state…. – Fox News, 9-21-11
    • Obama U.N. speech: ‘No shortcut’ to Mideast peace: President Barack Obama told a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday that Mideast peace “will not come through statements and resolutions” by the world body, arguing against a proposed resolution calling for U.N. recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state.
      “I am convinced that there is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” he told the UN General Assembly. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians — not us — who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.”… – Politico, 9-21-11
    • Obama Says ‘No Shortcut’ to Palestinian Statehood: President Barack Obama appealed to a United Nations General Assembly packed with supporters of Palestinian statehood to hold off UN recognition until the Palestinians and Israelis can work out a peace deal…. – WSJ, 9-21-11
    • Obama Confronts Palestinian Bid for Statehood at UN: ‘Peace Is Hard’: In a last-ditch attempt to prevent a showdown with the Palestinian territorities over their bid for statehood at the United Nations later this week, President Obama argued his case for a two-state Middle East solution before the General Assembly today…. – ABC News, 9-21-11

“Once again it’s been proven to all the doubters, President Obama is an ally and friend of Israel. The Obama administration gives backing to Israel’s security in a wide, all-encompassing and unprecedented manner.” — Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a statement

    • Ehud Barak: Obama’s speech again proves that he is a true ally: Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday responded to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly, saying the address was proof of the strong relationship between the American leader and Israel…. – Jerusalem Post, 9-21-11
    • Barak: Obama Speech Proves His Friendship with Israel: Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Atzmaut) responded to United States President Barack Obama’s United Nations General Assembly address on Wednesday, saying the speech was proof of the strong relationship between the American leader and Israel.
      Barak expressed hope that Obama’s speech and developments at the UN would lead to to the resumption of talks with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority…. – Israel National News, 9-21-11

“I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands.” — Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

    • Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman praises Obama’s UN General Assembly speech: FM states that he does not resort to ‘threats’ against the Palestinians in light of their UN statehood bid; Opposition leader Livni says Obama correct to demand negotiations, emphasizing that UN speeches will not ‘change a thing’…. – Ha’aretz, 9-21-11

“Let us cease our endless debates on the parameters. Let us begin negotiations and adopt a precise timetable.” — President Nicolas Sarkozy of France

  • France Breaks With Obama on Palestinian Statehood Issue: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France broke sharply on Wednesday with the effort by the Obama administration and some Europeans to quash the effort by the Palestinians for recognition here, instead calling for enhancing their status in the General Assembly to that of an observer state.
    The French leader, speaking from the famous green marble podium of the General Assembly barely an hour after President Obama, also said it was time to change the formula in trying to negotiate an Arab-Israeli peace, taking an indirect swipe at the United States by saying the efforts so far were a complete failure…. – NYT, 9-21-11
  • Obama stands firm against Palestinian statehood plan: U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday rejected Palestinian plans to seek UN blessing for statehood and urged a return to peace talks with Israel as he tried to head off a looming diplomatic disaster.
    Addressing the UN General Assembly, Obama — whose earlier peace efforts accomplished little — insisted Middle East peace “will not come through statements and resolutions” at the world body and put the onus on the two sides to break a yearlong impasse.
    “There is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work,” Obama told an annual gathering of world leaders.
    Grappling with economic woes and low poll numbers at home and growing doubts about his leadership abroad, Obama is wading into Middle East diplomacy at a critical juncture for his presidency and America’s credibility around the globe…. – National Post, 9-21-11
  • Palestinians rally in West Bank while others clash with Israeli soldiers nearby: Palestinians take part in a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron September 21. Flag-waving Palestinians filled the squares of major West Bank cities on Wednesday to rally behind President Mahmoud Abbas’s bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations…. – MSNBC, 9-21-11
  • Baby girl injured during violent clashes in W. Bank: Demonstrators burn tires, throw stones at security forces; IDF uses new non-lethal sonic crowd dispersal weapon; injured man treated on scene. Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank…. – Jerusalem Post, 9-21-11

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thanks Canadian PM Stephen Harper for Supporting Israel at UN Meeting

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Israeli PM Netanyahu thanks Harper for support


Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, shakes hands with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the United Nations Wednesday, September 21, 2011.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Source: The Canadian Press, 9-21-11

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his support for Israel.

The two leaders met at the United Nations on Wednesday as Harper wound up a two-day New York visit.

During a brief photo op, the two men both said the solution to the Israel-Palestinian impasse lies in a resumption of two-way peace talks, not a United Nations declaration of statehood for Palestine.

Harper, an outspoken supporter of Israel, opposes efforts by the Palestinians to win United Nations recognition of statehood. He says that move won’t help the Middle East peace process….READ MORE

Full Text September 21, 2011: Statements by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as They Began their Meeting at the UN General Assembly

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statements by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as They Began their Meeting at the UN General Assembly

Source: Israel PMO, 9-21-11

President Obama:  As I just said in the speech that I gave before the UN General Assembly, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security is unbreakable.  Indeed, I think it’s fair to say that today our security cooperation is stronger than it has ever been.  I’m  looking forward to a good discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the events not only here in the United Nations, but also of the developments that have been taking place in the region.

As I just indicated, peace cannot be imposed on the parties.  It’s going to have to be negotiated.  One-sided declarations in the United Nations will achieve neither statehood nor self-determination for the Palestinians, but

Israelis and Palestinians sitting down together and working through these very difficult issues that have kept the parties apart for decades now…  the ultimate goal of all of us, which is two states, side by side, living in peace and security.  Recent events in the region remind us of how fragile peace can be and why the pursuit of Middle East peace is more urgent than ever.  I think we need to pursue that peace, and know that the Prime Minister recognizes that America’s commitment to Israel will never waiver and that our pursuit of a just and lasting peace is one that is, not only compatible, but we think puts Israel’s security at the forefront.

So, it is a great pleasure to have the Prime Minister here.  I want to thank him for his efforts…

PM Netanyahu:  I want to thank you, Mr. President, for standing with Israel and supporting peace through direct negotiations.  We both agree this is the only way to achieve peace.  We both agree that Palestinians and the Israelis should sit down together and negotiate an agreement of mutual recognition and security.  I think this is the only way to get to a stable and durable peace.  You’ve also made it clear that the Palestinians deserve a state, but it’s a state that has to make that peace with Israel, and therefore their attempt to shortcut this process, not negotiate peace – that attempt to get state membership in the United Nations will not succeed.  I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state in the international community, but they’re not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return.

And my hope is that there will be other leaders in the world, as part of the UN, who will meet your call, Mr. President, and oppose this effort to shortcut peace negotiations – in fact to avoid them – because I think that avoiding these negotiations is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for peace.  I know that these leaders are under enormous pressure and I know that they are also in this house which has, from personal experience I can tell you, automatic majorities against Israel, but I think that standing your ground, taking this position of principle, which is also, I think, the right position to achieve peace – I think this is a badge of honor and I want to thank you for wearing that badge of honor, and also to express my hope that others will follow your example, Mr. President.  So I want to thank you.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו והנשיא אובמה בפתח פגישתם באו”ם (תרגום מאנגלית):

הנשיא אובמה: כפי שאמרתי כרגע בנאומי בפני עצרת הכללית באו”ם, הקשרים בין ארצות הברית לבין ישראל הם בלתי שבירים, והתחייבותה של ארצות הברית לביטחונה של ישראל בלתי שבירה אף היא. אכן, אני סבור שאפשר לומר שכיום שיתוף הפעולה הביטחוני בינינו איתן מתמיד. אני מצפה לשיחה טובה עם ראש הממשלה נתניהו לא רק לגבי האירועים שמתרחשים כאן בעצרת האו”ם, אלא גם לגבי ההתפתחויות האזוריות.

כפי שציינתי, אי אפשר לכפות שלום על הצדדים. חייבים לנהל משא ומתן. הצהרות חד-צדדיות באו”ם לא ישיגו מעמד של מדינה ולא הגדרה עצמית לפלסטינים. ישראלים ופלסטינים חייבים לשבת ולעבוד ביחד כדי לדון בנושאים הקשים הללו שמפרידים בין הצדדים במשך עשורים רבים. זוהי המטרה המשותפת של כולנו – שתי מדינות, זו לצד זו, החיות בשלום וביטחון אחת עם השנייה. אירועים שהתרחשו באזור לאחרונה ממחישים לנו עד כמה השלום יכול להיות שברירי ומדוע החתירה לשלום במזרח התיכון חשובה היום יותר מאי פעם. עלינו לחתור לשלום הזה. אני יודע שראש הממשלה מודע לכך שמחויבותה של ארצות הברית לישראל בלתי ניתנת לערעור וששאיפתנו לשלום צודק ובר קיימא איננה רק נכונה, אלא גם מציבה את ביטחונה של ישראל בעדיפות העליונה.

לכן, עונג רב לי לארח את ראש הממשלה כאן. ברצוני להודות לו על מאמציו.

רה”מ נתניהו: ברצוני להודות לך, אדוני הנשיא, על תמיכתך בישראל ועל תמיכתך בשלום שיושג דרך משא ומתן ישיר. שנינו מסכימים שזוהי הדרך היחידה להשיג שלום. אנחנו מסכימים שעל הפלסטינים והישראלים לשבת יחד ולנהל משא ומתן על הסכם של הכרה הדדית וביטחון. בעיניי, זוהי הדרך היחידה להשיג שלום יציב ובר קיימא. הבהרת גם שהפלסטינים זכאים למדינה, אבל על המדינה הזו לעשות שלום עם ישראל, ולכן הניסיון שלהם לקצר התהליך ולא לנהל משא ומתן, הניסיון לזכות בחברות מדינית באו”ם לא יצליח. לדעתי, הפלסטינים רוצים להשיג מדינה בקהילה הבינלאומית, אולם הם אינם מוכנים להעניק לישראל שלום בתמורה.

לכן תקוותי שיהיו מנהיגים אחרים בעולם, כחלק מהאו”ם, שיענו לקריאתך, אדוני הנשיא, ויתנגדו למאמץ זה לקצר את תהליך המשא ומתן לשלום – למעשה להתחמק ממנו. בעיניי, הימנעות ממשא ומתן מזיקה לישראל, מזיקה לפלסטינים ומזיקה לשלום. אני מבין שהמנהיגים הללו נמצאים תחת לחץ כבד ואני מבין שהם גם נמצאים בבית הזה, שמניסיוני האישי אוכל לומר שקיים כאן רוב אוטומטי נגד ישראל. אבל בעיניי עמדתך האיתנה, עמדתך העקרונית – שהיא גם לדעתי העמדה הנכונה כדי להשיג שלום – היא אות של כבוד. ברצוני להודות לך על כך שאתה ענוד אות כבוד זה. ברצוני גם להביע את תקוותי

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the (UN) United Nations General Assembly About Israel & Opposing Palestinian Statehood (Transcript)

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

IN FOCUS: UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN BID FOR STATEHOOD

  • Obama, at U.N., Explains Rationale for Opposing Palestinian Statehood Bid: President Obama declared his opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood through the Security Council on Wednesday, throwing the weight of the United States directly in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
    “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Mr. Obama said, in an address before world leaders at the General Assembly. “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”
    Instead, Mr. Obama said, the international community should continue to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four intractable “final status” issues that have vexed peace negotiations since 1979: the borders of a Palestinian state, security for Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees who left or were forced to leave their homes in Israel, and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital…. – NYT, 9-21-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly

United Nations
New York, New York

10:12 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: It is a great honor for me to be here today. I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations — the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world.

War and conflict have been with us since the beginning of civilizations. But in the first part of the 20th century, the advance of modern weaponry led to death on a staggering scale. It was this killing that compelled the founders of this body to build an institution that was focused not just on ending one war, but on averting others; a union of sovereign states that would seek to prevent conflict, while also addressing its causes.

No American did more to pursue this objective than President Franklin Roosevelt. He knew that a victory in war was not enough. As he said at one of the very first meetings on the founding of the United Nations, “We have got to make, not merely peace, but a peace that will last.”

The men and women who built this institution understood that peace is more than just the absence of war. A lasting peace — for nations and for individuals — depends on a sense of justice and opportunity, of dignity and freedom. It depends on struggle and sacrifice, on compromise, and on a sense of common humanity.

One delegate to the San Francisco Conference that led to the creation of the United Nations put it well: “Many people,” she said, “have talked as if all that has to be done to get peace was to say loudly and frequently that we loved peace and we hated war. Now we have learned that no matter how much we love peace and hate war, we cannot avoid having war brought upon us if there are convulsions in other parts of the world.”

The fact is peace is hard. But our people demand it. Over nearly seven decades, even as the United Nations helped avert a third world war, we still live in a world scarred by conflict and plagued by poverty. Even as we proclaim our love for peace and our hatred of war, there are still convulsions in our world that endanger us all.

I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place — Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization — remained at large. Today, we’ve set a new direction.

At the end of this year, America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations. That equal partnership will be strengthened by our support for Iraq — for its government and for its security forces, for its people and for their aspirations.

As we end the war in Iraq, the United States and our coalition partners have begun a transition in Afghanistan. Between now and 2014, an increasingly capable Afghan government and security forces will step forward to take responsibility for the future of their country. As they do, we are drawing down our own forces, while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan people.

So let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding. When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical for the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s also critical to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home.

Moreover, we are poised to end these wars from a position of strength. Ten years ago, there was an open wound and twisted steel, a broken heart in the center of this city. Today, as a new tower is rising at Ground Zero, it symbolizes New York’s renewal, even as al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded. And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.

So, yes, this has been a difficult decade. But today, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The United Nations’ Founding Charter calls upon us, “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” And Article 1 of this General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights.” Those bedrock beliefs — in the responsibility of states, and the rights of men and women — must be our guide.

And in that effort, we have reason to hope. This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.

Think about it: One year ago, when we met here in New York, the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt. But the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination. And last summer, as a new flag went up in Juba, former soldiers laid down their arms, men and women wept with joy, and children finally knew the promise of looking to a future that they will shape.

One year ago, the people of Côte D’Ivoire approached a landmark election. And when the incumbent lost, and refused to respect the results, the world refused to look the other way. U.N. peacekeepers were harassed, but they did not leave their posts. The Security Council, led by the United States and Nigeria and France, came together to support the will of the people. And Côte D’Ivoire is now governed by the man who was elected to lead.

One year ago, the hopes of the people of Tunisia were suppressed. But they chose the dignity of peaceful protest over the rule of an iron fist. A vendor lit a spark that took his own life, but he ignited a movement. In a face of a crackdown, students spelled out the word, “freedom.” The balance of fear shifted from the ruler to those that he ruled. And now the people of Tunisia are preparing for elections that will move them one step closer to the democracy that they deserve.

One year ago, Egypt had known one President for nearly 30 years. But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were glued to Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life — men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian — demanded their universal rights. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw, from Selma to South Africa — and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world.

One year ago, the people of Libya were ruled by the world’s longest-serving dictator. But faced with bullets and bombs and a dictator who threatened to hunt them down like rats, they showed relentless bravery. We will never forget the words of the Libyan who stood up in those early days of the revolution and said, “Our words are free now.” It’s a feeling you can’t explain. Day after day, in the face of bullets and bombs, the Libyan people refused to give back that freedom. And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century, the United Nations lived up to its charter. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre. The Arab League called for this effort; Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.

In the months that followed, the will of the coalition proved unbreakable, and the will of the Libyan people could not be denied. Forty-two years of tyranny was ended in six months. From Tripoli to Misurata to Benghazi — today, Libya is free. Yesterday, the leaders of a new Libya took their rightful place beside us, and this week, the United States is reopening our embassy in Tripoli.

This is how the international community is supposed to work — nations standing together for the sake of peace and security, and individuals claiming their rights. Now, all of us have a responsibility to support the new Libya — the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans.

So this has been a remarkable year. The Qaddafi regime is over. Gbagbo, Ben Ali, Mubarak are no longer in power. Osama bin Laden is gone, and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him. Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way that they will be. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. Dictators are on notice. Technology is putting power into the hands of the people. The youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and rejecting the lie that some races, some peoples, some religions, some ethnicities do not desire democracy. The promise written down on paper — “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” — is closer at hand.

But let us remember: Peace is hard. Peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart. The measure of our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom, dignity, and security. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations. And we have more work to do.

In Iran, we’ve seen a government that refuses to recognize the rights of its own people. As we meet here today, men and women and children are being tortured, detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. Thousands have been killed, many during the holy time of Ramadan. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders. The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice — protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. And the question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors?

Already, the United States has imposed strong sanctions on Syria’s leaders. We supported a transfer of power that is responsive to the Syrian people. And many of our allies have joined in this effort. But for the sake of Syria — and the peace and security of the world — we must speak with one voice. There’s no excuse for inaction. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime, and to stand with the Syrian people.

Throughout the region, we will have to respond to the calls for change. In Yemen, men, women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. America supports those aspirations. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh, and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.

In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability. We’re pleased with that, but more is required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc — the Wifaq — to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. We believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart. It will be hard, but it is possible.

We believe that each nation must chart its own course to fulfill the aspirations of its people, and America does not expect to agree with every party or person who expresses themselves politically. But we will always stand up for the universal rights that were embraced by this Assembly. Those rights depend on elections that are free and fair; on governance that is transparent and accountable; respect for the rights of women and minorities; justice that is equal and fair. That is what our people deserve. Those are the elements of peace that can last.

Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy — with greater trade and investment — so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also with civil society — students and entrepreneurs, political parties and the press. We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country. And we’ve sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who’ve been silenced.

Now, I know, particularly this week, that for many in this hall, there’s one issue that stands as a test for these principles and a test for American foreign policy, and that is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. One year later, despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences. Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May of this year. That basis is clear. It’s well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.

Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek — the question is how do we reach that goal. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians — not us –- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.

Ultimately, peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied. That’s the lesson of Northern Ireland, where ancient antagonists bridged their differences. That’s the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is and will be the path to a Palestinian state — negotiations between the parties.

We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own, with no limit to what they can achieve. There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. It is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and so much effort in the building of a Palestinian state, and the negotiations that can deliver a Palestinian state.

But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.

Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution, and fresh memories of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are. Those are facts. They cannot be denied.

The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.

That is the truth — each side has legitimate aspirations — and that’s part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. That’s what we should be encouraging. That’s what we should be promoting.

This body — founded, as it was, out of the ashes of war and genocide, dedicated, as it is, to the dignity of every single person — must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis. The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live lives of peace and security and dignity and opportunity. And we will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down, to listen to each other, and to understand each other’s hopes and each other’s fears. That is the project to which America is committed. There are no shortcuts. And that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come.

Now, even as we confront these challenges of conflict and revolution, we must also recognize — we must also remind ourselves — that peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends on creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. And to do that, we must confront the common enemies of humanity: nuclear weapons and poverty, ignorance and disease. These forces corrode the possibility of lasting peace and together we’re called upon to confront them.

To lift the specter of mass destruction, we must come together to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Over the last two years, we’ve begun to walk down that path. Since our Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, nearly 50 nations have taken steps to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and smugglers. Next March, a summit in Seoul will advance our efforts to lock down all of them. The New START Treaty between the United States and Russia will cut our deployed arsenals to the lowest level in half a century, and our nations are pursuing talks on how to achieve even deeper reductions. America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons and the production of fissile material needed to make them.

And so we have begun to move in the right direction. And the United States is committed to meeting our obligations. But even as we meet our obligations, we’ve strengthened the treaties and institutions that help stop the spread of these weapons. And to do so, we must continue to hold accountable those nations that flout them.

The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful. It has not met its obligations and it rejects offers that would provide it with peaceful nuclear power. North Korea has yet to take concrete steps towards abandoning its weapons and continues belligerent action against the South. There’s a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their international obligations. But if they continue down a path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation. That is what our commitment to peace and security demands.

To bring prosperity to our people, we must promote the growth that creates opportunity. In this effort, let us not forget that we’ve made enormous progress over the last several decades. Closed societies gave way to open markets. Innovation and entrepreneurship has transformed the way we live and the things that we do. Emerging economies from Asia to the Americas have lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty. It’s an extraordinary achievement. And yet, three years ago, we were confronted with the worst financial crisis in eight decades. And that crisis proved a fact that has become clearer with each passing year — our fates are interconnected. In a global economy, nations will rise, or fall, together.

And today, we confront the challenges that have followed on the heels of that crisis. Around the world recovery is still fragile. Markets remain volatile. Too many people are out of work. Too many others are struggling just to get by. We acted together to avert a depression in 2009. We must take urgent and coordinated action once more. Here in the United States, I’ve announced a plan to put Americans back to work and jumpstart our economy, at the same time as I’m committed to substantially reducing our deficits over time.

We stand with our European allies as they reshape their institutions and address their own fiscal challenges. For other countries, leaders face a different challenge as they shift their economy towards more self-reliance, boosting domestic demand while slowing inflation. So we will work with emerging economies that have rebounded strongly, so that rising standards of living create new markets that promote global growth. That’s what our commitment to prosperity demands.

To combat the poverty that punishes our children, we must act on the belief that freedom from want is a basic human right. The United States has made it a focus of our engagement abroad to help people to feed themselves. And today, as drought and conflict have brought famine to the Horn of Africa, our conscience calls on us to act. Together, we must continue to provide assistance, and support organizations that can reach those in need. And together, we must insist on unrestricted humanitarian access so that we can save the lives of thousands of men and women and children. Our common humanity is at stake. Let us show that the life of a child in Somalia is as precious as any other. That is what our commitment to our fellow human beings demand.

To stop disease that spreads across borders, we must strengthen our system of public health. We will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We will focus on the health of mothers and of children. And we must come together to prevent, and detect, and fight every kind of biological danger — whether it’s a pandemic like H1N1, or a terrorist threat, or a treatable disease.

This week, America signed an agreement with the World Health Organization to affirm our commitment to meet this challenge. And today, I urge all nations to join us in meeting the HWO’s [sic] goal of making sure all nations have core capacities to address public health emergencies in place by 2012. That is what our commitment to the health of our people demands.

To preserve our planet, we must not put off action that climate change demands. We have to tap the power of science to save those resources that are scarce. And together, we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun, so that all the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made. Together, we must work to transform the energy that powers our economies, and support others as they move down that path. That is what our commitment to the next generation demands.

And to make sure our societies reach their potential, we must allow our citizens to reach theirs. No country can afford the corruption that plagues the world like a cancer. Together, we must harness the power of open societies and open economies. That’s why we’ve partnered with countries from across the globe to launch a new partnership on open government that helps ensure accountability and helps to empower citizens. No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.

And no country can realize its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs. This week, the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down the economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. This is what our commitment to human progress demands.

I know there’s no straight line to that progress, no single path to success. We come from different cultures, and carry with us different histories. But let us never forget that even as we gather here as heads of different governments, we represent citizens who share the same basic aspirations — to live with dignity and freedom; to get an education and pursue opportunity; to love our families, and love and worship our God; to live in the kind of peace that makes life worth living.

It is the nature of our imperfect world that we are forced to learn these lessons over and over again. Conflict and repression will endure so long as some people refuse to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Yet that is precisely why we have built institutions like this — to bind our fates together, to help us recognize ourselves in each other — because those who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war, and freedom is preferable to suppression, and prosperity is preferable to poverty. That’s the message that comes not from capitals, but from citizens, from our people.

And when the cornerstone of this very building was put in place, President Truman came here to New York and said, “The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of man’s aspirations.” The moral nature of man’s aspirations. As we live in a world that is changing at a breathtaking pace, that’s a lesson that we must never forget.

Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible. So, together, let us be resolved to see that it is defined by our hopes and not by our fears. Together, let us make peace, but a peace, most importantly, that will last.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END
10:47 A.M. EDT

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama in Speech to UN: Consider Israel’s security

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Obama to UN: Consider Israel’s security

Source: JTA, 9-21-11

President Obama appealed to the United Nations to recognize Israel’s security concerns in considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day,” Obama said in his address Wednesday to the U.N. General Assembly plenary.

Obama repeated his administration’s calls on the Palestinians not to use the United Nations as a vehicle for achieving statehood, and called for Israel and the Palestinians to return to talks based on the parameters he outlined May.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations,” he said.

“Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than 8 million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile, and persecution, fresh memories of knowing that 6 million people were killed simply because of who they are,” he said.

“Those are facts. They cannot be denied. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.”

Obama also called for U.N. Security Council sanctions on Syria. Unlike his references to insurgencies in Bahrain and Yemen, he did not repeat his earlier calls for a democratic transition in Damascus, a sign that his administration has given up on trying to broker a transition with Syria’s current ruler.

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: Alan Dershowitz, Irwin Cotler applaud Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Israel Position

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Dershowitz, Cotler applaud Harper on Israel

Source: The Montreal Suburban, 9-21-11
Lawyer and rights activist Alan Dershowitz said last week at Westmount’s Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue that he has been a lifelong Democrat and would never vote Republican.

And Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler is well-known as a member of the Liberal Party who has resisted urgings from members of the community to join the Conservatives.

Yet, both men cheered Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his support of Israel, the topic of the event that attracted 1,000 people to the synagogue last Thursday.

“I publicly commend Prime Minister Harper for his support of Israel,” Cotler said.

Dershowitz joined the audience’s loud applause, and said: “He has truly been Israel’s best friend.”

“And on this issue, there are no differences between us,” Cotler added.

Dershowitz was the keynote speaker at the Steinberg lecture series event, in which he spoke about this week’s Palestinian attempt to unilaterally declare independence at the UN and the “irrational hate” of Israel, especially on college campuses. He blasted Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa as an “anti-Semite” and heavily criticized former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.

Then, in a conversation format, Dershowitz and Cotler exchanged views on several issues, including the crisis now faced by Israel.

“I have to say,” Cotler told his longtime friend Dershowitz, “I have never been as concerned as I am now. There has been a dramatic change this summer, with a critical mass of threat the likes of which Israel has not faced before.”

The MP cited threats emanating from terrorists in Egypt’s Sinai, from which a recent attack took place; Gaza becoming a base for many terrorist groups; Egypt itself, where the 1970s Camp David peace treaty is “hanging by a thread;” increased arms possessed by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon; and tensions with Turkey.

Dershowitz said many blame Israel for the hostility emanating from Egypt and Turkey.

“That’s an absolutely false accusation,” he said. “Turkey has an agenda, and its prime minister, years ago, has been looking for excuses. The best proof they would be doing exactly the same thing, even if there had been no flotilla [in 2010]; no response by Israel in Egypt where, tragically, some Egyptian policemen had been killed — just look at Jordan. Israel hasn’t done a thing to provoke Jordan, and now there are all kinds of demonstrations and attacks on the Israeli embassy as well.”

Dershowitz said Israel should prepare its military “for the next decades in which there will be no effective peace treaty with Egypt, and no effective alliance with Turkey.

Israel Political Brief September 21, 2011: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper opposes Palestinian’s bid for statehood at UN — Restates Support for Israel

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Harper opposes Palestinians’ bid for statehood at UN

Source: Canada.com, 9-21-11

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called on Palestinians Tuesday to get back to the negotiating table with Israel and declared that their bid for statehood at the United Nations could hamper hopes for peace in the Middle East.

Harper made his comments at a news conference at the UN, where he was attending a meeting of world leaders known as the “Friends of Libya”.

This week, the United Nations General Assembly is holding its annual meeting — drawing leaders from around the globe — and this year’s session is gripped by a bid by the Palestinians for statehood recognition.

The Palestinians have been actively lobbying the international community to support their request – a move which they say would be a major step toward the actual creation of a Palestinian nation.

By achieving such official recognition, they believe they would have a greater international profile and more leverage in their negotiations with Israel.

The United States has indicated it will oppose the request at the UN – expected to come Friday when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers an address to the UN General Assembly.

Canada has already indicated it will oppose this move. On Tuesday, Harper spoke strongly about why he thinks the proposal is wrong-headed.

“I think there’s no likelihood of this initiative by the Palestinian Authority doing anything to further the peace process,” said the prime minister.

“I think its possible that it could be counter-productive. But I would say if the Palestinian Authority is serious about establishing a sovereign state, the method to do that is not a declaration here at the United Nations. It’s to get back at the negotiating table and negotiate peace with Israel.”

Those comments went further than the remarks Harper made on the subject last Friday.

At that time, he spoke more diplomatically in saying Canada will oppose the move,  which he described as a “unilateral action” that was “regrettable” and would not be “helpful” to long term peace.

Harper will not deliver an address to the General Assembly of the UN — he has done so twice, in 2006 and 2010 since taking power. Instead, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will speak to the Assembly on behalf of Canada early next week…. READ MORE

Israel Political Brief September 15, 2011: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addressing UN Same Day as Palestinian Statehood Bid — September 23, 2011

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Netanyahu U.N. address, Palestinian statehood bid on same day

Source: JTA, 9-15-11

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the U.N. General Assembly on the same day that the Palestinian Authority presents its statehood bid to the Security Council.

The Palestinians will submit a bid for full membership in the Security Council of the United Nations on Sept. 23, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced Thursday. Netanyahu told a news conference Thursday with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas that he will address the issue of the statehood bid and the quest for peace in the region in his address Sept. 23.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas will make the Palestinians’ bid following his address to the General Assembly. Al-Malki said, however, that the Palestinians were still open to other offers.

The United States has said it will use its veto in the Security Council, after which the Palestinians are expected to seek an enhanced status short of statehood through the General Assembly, where the United States does not have a veto.

For weeks it has been unclear whether Netanyahu would travel to the opening meeting of the new U.N. session, during which the Palestinian statehood bid will likely take center stage.

“We have to speak the truth,” Netanyahu said at the news conference. “The first truth is that to have peace, we must have mutual respect for other peoples. This is what we seek with our Palestinian neighbors. This is what we seek with all our neighbors.

“We also believe that the way to achieve this peace is through direct negotiations. There is no way to impose peace by dictat. ”

Netanyahu said that while Israel does not get a fair hearing in the General Assembly, “I’ve decided to go there anyway — not to win applause, but to speak the truth to every nation that wants to hear the truth.”

Israel Political Brief September 1, 2011: PA Statehood Bid Could Jeopardize Oslo Agreement

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Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 8-31-11

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said Tuesday the PA statehood bid at the United Nations would likely jeopardize all existing agreements between the PA and Israel.

In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Oren said, “We have a lot of agreements with the Palestinian Authority, we have no agreements with a ‘Government of Palestine.’

“It’s just a fact – we have no agreements with a ‘Government of Palestine.’ It puts us in a different realm,” said Oren.

Oren added the move would render invalid economic treaties, including export, import and water sharing, as well as security cooperation agreements.

“America is a cosignatory to the Oslo Accord and this would seriously undermine it…Unilateral steps would have legal, economic, and political ramifications for us and for America as a cosignatory,” Oren added.

According to Oren, the statehood declaration will provide the Palestinian Authority with “lawfare” against Israel in the international arena, which will further diminish the chances for reaching a negotiated agreement.

“We want to be able to negotiate but we won’t be able to negotiate if they are attacking our legitimacy in every international court. We’re not going to negotiate under fire and it’s a mistake for the Palestinians to think that we would,” the ambassador said.

Oren warned that in the absence of a negotiated solution, Israel’s support for the creation of a PA state might be jeopardized. “The Palestinians risk all that has been achieved if they go forward with this … and that would be a great tragedy.”

Oren’s comments on the heels of Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz telling reporters the PA Statehood Bid was more dangerous than Hamas and would force Israel to “respond.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has already said a unilateral declaration of statehood by the PA would render the Oslo Accords ‘null and void’ and would result in a ‘diplomatic eye for an eye’ on Israel’s part.

Earlier, Florida’s Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced she is advancing a measure to block US funding to any UN member or group that supports the PA bid.

via israelnn.com

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