Israel Political Brief December 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Western Wall belongs to Israel despite UN pronouncements

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Netanyahu: Western Wall belongs to Israel despite U.N. pronouncements

Source: JTA, 12-23-12

The Western Wall belongs to Israel, despite what the United Nations says, Israeli Prime Minister said in interviews with Israel’s three major networks….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 6, 2012: Palestinians appeal to UN over Israel’s E1 East Jerusalem housing plan

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Palestinians appeal to U.N. over Israel’s E1 housing plan

Source: JTA, 12-6-12

The Palestinians appealed to the United Nations Security Council to stop Israel from making plans to build 3,000 apartments in a controversial area outside of Jerusalem….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 29, 2012: UN General Assembly approves Palestine status as non-member observer state

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U.N. General Assembly approves Palestine status

Source: JTA, 11-29-12

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Screen shot of the board at the United Nations General Assembly showing the 138-9 vote officially upgrading Palestine to nonmember observer state, Nov. 29, 2012.  (Fox News)

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Screen shot of the board at the United Nations General Assembly showing the 138-9 vote officially upgrading Palestine to nonmember observer state, Nov. 29, 2012. (Fox News)

The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade Palestine to a non-member observer state.

The vote Thursday was 138 to 9, with 41 countries abstaining. The Palestinians had been expected to win the vote handily, which is largely symbolic….READ MORE

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 29, 2012: Israeli United Nations Ambassador Ron Prosor’s Speech to the UN General Assembly

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Ambassador Ron Prosor
Speech to the UN General Assembly, as Delivered
29 November 2012

Source: Embassies.gov.il, 11-29-12
Mr. President,

Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world’s one and only Jewish state. A state built in the Jewish people’s ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart.

We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future. We are a nation that values idealism, but acts with pragmatism. Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself, but will always extend its hand for peace.

Peace is a central value of Israeli society. The bible calls on us:
בקש שלום ורדפהו

“seek peace and pursue it.”

Peace fills our art and poetry. It is taught in our schools. It has been the goal of the Israeli people and every Israeli leader since Israel was re-established 64 years ago.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence states, “We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help…”

This week was the 35th anniversary of President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem. In a speech just before that visit, President Sadat famously stood in the Egyptian parliament in Cairo and stated that he would go “to the ends of the earth” to make peace with Israel.
Israel’s Prime Minister at the time, Menachem Begin, welcomed President Sadat to Israel, and paved the way for peace. This morning Prime Minister Netanyahu stood at the Menachem Begin Center and said this about the resolution that you are about to vote on:

“Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel’s security must be protected. The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish State and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.

None of these vital interests, these vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today and that is why Israel cannot accept it. The only way to achieve peace is through agreements that are reached by the parties and not through U.N. resolutions that completely ignore Israel’s vital security and national interests. And because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards.

As for the rights of Jewish people in this land, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today, no decision by the U.N. can break the 4000 year old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.”

Mr. President,

The People of Israel wait for a Palestinian leader that is willing to follow in the path of President Sadat. The world waits for President Abbas to speak the truth that peace can only be achieved through negotiations by recognizing Israel as a Jewish State. It waits for him to tell them that peace must also address Israel’s security needs and end the conflict once and for all.

For as long as President Abbas prefers symbolism over reality, as long as he prefers to travel to New York for UN resolutions, rather than travel to Jerusalem for genuine dialogue, any hope of peace will be out of reach.

Mr. President,

Israel has always extended its hand for peace and will always extend its hand for peace. When we faced an Arab leader who wanted peace, we made peace. That was the case with Egypt. That was the case with Jordan.

Time and again, we have sought peace with the Palestinians. Time and again, we have been met by rejection of our offers, denial of our rights, and terrorism targeting our citizens.

President Abbas described today’s proceedings as “historic”. But the only thing historic about his speech is how much it ignored history.

The truth is that 65 years ago today, the United Nations voted to partition the British Mandate into two states: a Jewish state, and an Arab state. Two states for two peoples.

Israel accepted this plan. The Palestinians and Arab nations around us rejected it and launched a war of annihilation to throw the “Jews into the sea”.

The truth is that from 1948 until 1967, the West Bank was ruled by Jordan, and Gaza was ruled by Egypt. The Arab states did not lift a finger to create a Palestinian state. Instead they sought Israel’s destruction, and were joined by newly formed Palestinian terrorist organizations.

The truth is that at Camp David in 2000, and again at Annapolis in 2008, Israeli leaders made far-reaching offers for peace. Those offers were met by rejection, evasion, and even terrorism.

The truth is that to advance peace, in 2005 Israel dismantled entire communities and uprooted thousands of people from their homes in the Gaza Strip. And rather than use this opportunity to build a peaceful future, the Palestinians turned Gaza into an Iranian terror base, from which thousands of rockets were fired into Israeli cities. As we were reminded just last week, the area has been turned into a launching pad for rockets into Israeli cities, a haven for global terrorists, and an ammunition dump for Iranian weapons.

Time after time, the Palestinian leadership refused to accept responsibility. They refused to make the tough decisions for peace.

Israel remains committed to peace, but we will not establish another Iranian terror base in the heart of our country.

We need a peace that will ensure a secure future for Israel.

Three months ago, Israel’s Prime Minister stood in this very hall and extended his hand in peace to President Abbas. He reiterated that his goal was to create a solution of two-states for two-peoples

—where a demilitarized Palestinian state that will recognize Israel as a Jewish State.
That’s right. Two states for two peoples.

President Abbas, I did not hear you use the phrase “two states for two peoples” this afternoon. In fact, I have never heard you say the phrase “two states for two peoples”. Because the Palestinian leadership has never recognized that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.

They have never been willing to accept what this very body recognized 65 years ago. Israel is the Jewish state.

In fact, today you asked the world to recognize a Palestinian state, but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state.

Not only do you not recognize the Jewish state, you are also trying to erase Jewish history. This year, you even tried to erase the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. You said that Jews were trying to alter the historic character of Jerusalem. You said that we are trying to “Judaize Jerusalem”.

President Abbas, the truth is that Jerusalem had a Jewish character long before most cities in the world had any character! Three thousand years ago King David ruled from Jerusalem and Jews have lived in Jerusalem ever since.

President Abbas, instead of revising history, it is time that you started making history by making peace with Israel.

Mr. President,

This resolution will not advance peace.

This resolution will not change the situation on the ground. It will not change the fact that the Palestinian Authority has no control over Gaza. That is forty percent of the territory he claims to represent!

President Abbas, you can’t even visit nearly half the territory of the state you claim to represent.
That territory is controlled by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that rains missiles on Israel’s civilians. This is the same Hamas that fired more than 1,300 rockets into the heart of Israel’s major cities this month.

This resolution will not confer statehood on the Palestinian Authority, which clearly fails to meet the criteria for statehood.

This resolution will not enable the Palestinians Authority to join international treaties, organizations, or conferences as a state.

This resolution cannot serve as an acceptable terms of reference for peace negotiations with Israel. Because this resolution says nothing about Israel’s security needs. It does not call on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. It does not demand an end of conflict and a termination of all claims.

Let me tell you what this resolution does do.

This resolution violates a fundamental binding commitment. This is a commitment that many of the states here today were themselves witness to. It was a commitment that all outstanding issues in the peace process would only be resolved in direct negotiations.

This resolution sends a message that the international community is willing to turn a blind eye to peace agreements. For the people of Israel, it raises a simple question: why continue to make painful sacrifices for peace, in exchange for pieces of paper that the other side will not honor?
It will make a negotiated peace settlement less likely, as Palestinians continue to harden their positions and place further obstacles and preconditions to negotiations and peace.
And unfortunately, it will raise expectations that cannot be met, which has always proven to be a recipe for conflict and instability.

There is only one route to Palestinian statehood. And that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah that will lead to a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No instant solutions. As President Obama, said in 2010, “Peace cannot be imposed from the outside.”

The real message of this resolution for the people of Israel is that the international community will turn a blind eye to violations of these agreements by the Palestinians.
Mr. President,

In submitting this resolution, the Palestinian leadership is once again making the wrong choice.
65 years ago the Palestinians could have chosen to live side-by-side with the Jewish State of Israel. 65 years ago they could have chosen to accept the solution of two states for two peoples. They rejected it then, and they are rejecting it again today.

The international community should not encourage this rejection. It should not encourage the Palestinian leadership to drive forward recklessly with both feet pressing down on the gas, no hands on the wheel, and no eyes on the road.

Instead it should encourage the Palestinians to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions in order to achieve an historic peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state.

Mr. President,

Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it … ignorance may deride it … malice may distort it … but there it is.”

The truth is that Israel wants peace, and the Palestinians are avoiding peace.
Those who are supporting the resolution today are not advancing peace. They are undermining peace.
The UN was founded to advance the cause of peace. Today the Palestinians are turning their back on peace. Don’t let history record that today the UN helped them along on their march of folly.
Thank you, Mr. President.

Israel Political Brief November 29, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: No Palestinian state until negotiations, despite UN vote

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Netanyahu: No Palestinian state until negotiations, despite U.N. vote

Source: JTA, 11-29-12

The Palestinians will not achieve a state without first recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and sitting down to direct negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 29, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem

Source: PMO, 11-29-12

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, made the following statement:

“Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel’s security must be protected.  The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish State and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.  None of these vital interests, these vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today and that is why Israel cannot accept it.  The only way to achieve peace is through agreements that are reached by the parties directly; through direct negotiations between themselves, and not through UN resolutions that completely ignore Israel’s vital security and national interests.  And because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards.

As for the rights of the Jewish people in this land, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today: No decision by the UN can break the 4000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 28, 2012: Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor’s Wall Street Journal Op-ed: What Kind of Palestinian State?

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What Kind of Palestinian State?

The U.N. should consider whether the world needs another nation that imports weapons and exports

Source: RON PROSOR, Wall Street Journal, 11-28-12

For more than a year, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has attempted to bypass peace negotiations with Israel by unilaterally seeking state recognition at the United Nations. Instead of pulling him back from this cliff, this week the U.N.’s General Assembly may push him over the edge.

Many countries in the Assembly are taking an approach to Palestinian statehood that is far more Pavlovian than Washingtonian. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise. For decades, the body has rubber-stamped any Palestinian whim no matter how ill-advised, ill-conceived or illogical.

The time is right to break this habit. It doesn’t take an architect to recognize how poorly Palestinians have laid the foundations for statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. U.N. members considering Palestinian statehood have a duty to inspect these foundations and ask: Exactly what kind of state are we voting for?

A state with no control over its territory. The Palestinian Authority has zero authority in Gaza today. Out of concern for his personal safety, President Abbas has not even seen this area with binoculars since 2007, when the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of it in a bloody coup. Demonstrating their affection for Mr. Abbas, Hamas threw members of his political party off 12-story rooftops. While members of the U.S. Congress visit their constituents on a weekly basis, President Abbas hasn’t laid eyes on almost half of the Palestinian population for six years.

A terrorist state. States recognized by the U.N. must pledge to be “peace-loving.” This month, Hamas showed its commitment to peace and love in Gaza by firing more than 1,200 rockets into Israeli cities. The terrorist group has used every resource at its disposal to repress its own population or attack Israel’s. It has transformed Gaza into a haven for global jihadist organizations like al Qaeda. The family of nations does not need another member whose primary import is deadly weapons and whose chief exports are extremism, hatred and terror.

An undemocratic state. Hamas has imposed brutal tyranny in Gaza, and Palestinian democracy in the West Bank is also far from Jeffersonian. President Abbas’s mandate to rule expired three years ago. He continues to personally extend it without elections or consultation from his people. Mr. Abbas may have a flexible view of his own term limits, but his ideas about freedom of speech are more rigid. Journalists, bloggers and activists continue to be jailed and tortured in the West Bank for crimes such as “extending their tongues against the Palestinian President.”

A bankrupt state. Palestinian Authority institutions remain completely dependent on foreign aid, limping from crisis to crisis. Yet this year, as the PA threatened to delay payroll for many employees, it tripled payments to convicted terrorists. Today the PA devotes 6% of its annual budget to payments for imprisoned terrorists and the families of suicide bombers, and less than 1% to higher education. In mosques, schools and official media, the PA glorifies terror and promotes incitement against Israelis. Instead of using their budgets for nation-building, they use them for nation-sinking.

Before placing its seal of approval on a Palestinian non-state, the U.N. should consider the consequences. Virtual statehood might earn Mr. Abbas a better seat in the General Assembly, but it will not change anything on the ground. It would only raise expectations for the Palestinian people that cannot be met. In our very volatile region, the results could be tragic.

Israel is urging the Palestinian leadership to give up their destructive march of folly at the U.N. and work with us to forge constructive solutions at the negotiating table, which the PA leadership has avoided for years. The foundations for real Palestinian statehood and real peace can only be laid through hard work on the ground and direct talks with Israel.

When the foundations for lasting peace are in place, Israel will not be the last nation to welcome Palestinians to the U.N. We will be the first.

Mr. Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. 

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu & UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Statements Before Their Meeting About Negotiating a Cease-fire

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Statements by PM Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Prime Minister Netanyahu:  Mr. Secretary, welcome to Jerusalem.  You’re always a welcome guest, and I appreciate both your coming here and your statement.  I want to thank you for making it clear that Israel has the right to defend itself.  I want to thank you for your consistent statements condemning the rocket attacks on Israel’s citizens.

I know you’re very concerned about the civilian casualties on both sides.  Well, we share your concern, and that is why, in fighting terror, our military always tries to avoid civilian casualties.  In fact, I’m not sure that there is another military on Earth that goes to such great lengths to keep innocents out of harm’s way.  Israel is, I think, remarkable in that, when you consider the conditions that we’re facing, I think that something almost without parallel in history is taking place.  We’re conducting these surgical operations against terrorists at a time when our own population is being bombarded by rocket attacks.

Unfortunately, Mr. Secretary, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist groups, do not share your concern about our civilian casualties or about civilian casualties at all.  They’re deliberately and indiscriminately targeting our civilians and they deliberately hide behind their civilians.  The terrorists target our children and they use their own children as human shields.  They place explosives, weapons, other destructive weapons of any kind in schools, mosques, hospitals, universities.  Targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians, as you well know is a double war crime.  If we hope to make these tactics illegitimate, they should be condemned in the most forceful terms by all responsible members of the international community.  The moment we draw symmetry between the victims of terror and the unintended casualties that result from legitimate military action against the terrorists, the minute that false symmetry is drawn, the terrorists win.

I know, Mr. Secretary, that you understand this, and I am confident, as always, that you will continue to lend your moral authority to the struggle against terrorism.  Mr. Secretary, no country would tolerate rocket attacks against its cities and against its civilians.  Israel cannot tolerate such attacks.  If a long-term solution can be put in place through diplomatic means, than Israel would be a willing partner to such a solution.  But if stronger military action proves necessary to stop the constant barrage of rockets, Israel will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our people.

I look forward to our discussions today, and I hope we can advance a peaceful resolution.

Secretary Ban:  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.  Shalom, ladies and gentlemen.  Todah.

Again, I’d like to thank the Prime Minister for welcoming me to Israel at this time.  Regrettably, I’m back again in the region only nine months since my last visit because of violence in Israel and Gaza, this again requiring our attention, not progressing towards a lasting peace and a two-state solution.  But all this we are truly concerned at the rising loss of human lives.  A further escalation would be dangerous and tragic for Palestinians and Israelis, and would put the entire region at risk.  I’m here to appeal to all to hold fire and restore calm.

Rockets have hit areas just outside of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as Israeli towns near Gaza, killing and injuring civilians.  I myself visited Sderot and these cities, and met many people, and I was able to witness myself how these people were living in fear and terror.  This is unacceptable, irresponsible and reckless.  I strongly condemn these actions.  Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel must cease immediately.  I know how desperate the situation is here, but Israel must exercise maximum restraint.  I strongly caution against a ground operation which will only result in further tragedy.  I have also stressed that while Israeli rockets may be aimed at military targets inside Gaza, they kill and injure civilians and damage civilian infrastructures.  The loss of civilian lives is unacceptable under any circumstances.  The excessive use of force is unlawful and must be rejected, and I take note of your statement that this military operation was aimed against only military facilities, but still in the course of military operations, the civilians are actually victimized, as we have seen.

My paramount immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians, in Israel and in Gaza.  Innocent people, including children, are being killed and injured on both sides.  I appeal to all and those commanding, bearing and operating arms, weapons, to respect international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times.  I was here under similar circumstances in early 2009.  It is truly painful for me to be back for the same reason.  This new cycle of bloodshed will make neither Israelis nor Palestinians more secure, nor will bloodshed open the door to negotiations that could achieve a two-state solution necessary to end such violence permanently.  Further escalation benefits no one.  I and all my staff, including Special Coordinator Robert Serry, will spare no effort to put an end to violence and provide humanitarian assistance to those who need it.

Over the past week, Mr. Prime Minister, I have spoken with many international leaders and regional leaders by telephone and in person.  I have come here directly from Cairo, where I met with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby and Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil earlier today.  Egypt is a leader in the region, and I was encouraged that the Egyptian authorities are using their contacts on all sides to seek an immediate ceasefire.  I’ve also met Foreign Minister Leiberman and Defense Minister Barak this afternoon since arriving in Jerusalem.  I will be meeting President Peres after our meeting with you this evening, and Palestinian President Abbas tomorrow morning.  I’m here to offer my help and good offices to end the violence and find a path back towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.  The world is watching and waiting.  We have not a moment to lose.

Again, Mr. Prime Minister, I count on your strong leadership while working together with the United Nations for peace and stability and human rights in this region.

Israel Political Brief November 15, 2012: UN chief to visit Israel as part of truce efforts

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UN chief to visit Israel as part of truce efforts

Source: YNet News, 11-15-12 

Ban to meet Netanyahu, Barak and Abbas in hopes of restoring ceasefire between Israel, Hamas. France says President Hollande in talks with Israeli PM, other world leaders to avert escalation of violence. Lieberman to counterparts: We won’t agree to fragile truce.

Efforts to end Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza are underway: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to visit the region on Tuesday in order to advance a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Ban is expected to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah, but he will apparently not visit Gaza. The UN chief is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The visit was coordinated following a closed-door meeting of the Security Council following the escalation in Gaza. …READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 15, 2012: Three Israelis killed by rocket from Gaza, UN Security Council meets

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Three Israelis killed by rocket from Gaza, U.N. Security Council meets

Source: JTA, 11-15-12

Three Israelis were killed when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit their home in southern Israel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 14, 2012: Israel’s Foreign Ministry: Oslo Accords could be canceled over Palestinians’ UN bid

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Israel’s Foreign Ministry: Oslo Accords could be canceled over Palestinians’ U.N. bid

Source: JTA, 11-14-12

A document being circulated by Israel’s Foreign Ministry instructs its envoys to warn their host governments that the Oslo Accords could be canceled over the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to upgrade its status at the United Nations….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief October 18, 2012: Israel goes to UN in effort to halt Gaza-bound ship

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Israel goes to U.N. in effort to halt Gaza-bound ship

Source: JTA, 10-18-12

Israel asked the United Nations to stop a Swedish-owned ship carrying human rights activists from attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 28, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s Statements on Iran

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Statements by PM Netanyahu and Canadian PM Stephen Harper

Source: PMO, 9-28-12

Photo by GPO

Following is a transcription of today’s statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I want to express my pleasure at seeing Stephen Harper again. He’s proved he’s a real statesman, and Stephen, I think that what you did, severing ties with Iran, was not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity.

We’ve heard Iran talk about destroying Israel, even now, here at this current round of the UN General Assembly, and the fact that you took such clear, decisive steps is a great example to be followed by other nations, many of which attended a conference in Tehran and said nothing.

I tried to say something yesterday, that I think reverberates now around the world, as you just told me, and that is to translate the agreement and principle of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons to practice. In practice, that means setting red lines on their enrichment process. It’s their only discernible and vulnerable part of their nuclear program.

I think that if such red lines are set, I believe that Iran will back off, and I think this message is percolated [unclear] a lot of debate and also considerable discussions between the United States and us, And I also hope to take some minutes to discuss it with you as a great champion of freedom, and a great friend of Israel.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “Thank you, Prime Minister. It’s always wonderful to see you again and I look forward to discussing these very critical issues, obviously, our bi-lateral issues but some of these global issues. I spoke last night, certainly our country has not been shy about warning the world about the danger that the Iranian regime ultimately presents to all of us. As you know we want to see a peaceful resolution of all this and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.

I look forward to discussing that with you, and our shared values.

[French]

I look forward once again, great to see you and I look forward to our discussions.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Je suis d’accord…”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 27, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York

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PM Netanyahu’s Speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York

Source: PMO, 9-27-12

Photo by GPO

-Transcription-

Thank you very much Mr. President.
It’s a pleasure to see the General Assembly presided by the Ambassador from Israel, and it’s good to see all of you, distinguished delegates.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Three thousand years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear.
Throughout our history, the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who have sought our destruction. It’s their ideologies that have been discarded by history.
The people of Israel live on. We say in Hebrew Am Yisrael Chai, and the Jewish state will live forever.
The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continued to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages. The masses of our people never gave up the dreamed of returning to our ancient homeland.
Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We ingathered the exiles, restored our independence and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home.
We will never be uprooted again.

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
Every year, for over three millennia, we have come together on this day of reflection and atonement. We take stock of our past. We pray for our future. We remember the sorrows of our persecution; we remember the great travails of our dispersion; we mourn the extermination of a third of our people, six million, in the Holocaust.
But at the end of Yom Kippur, we celebrate.
We celebrate the rebirth of Israel. We celebrate the heroism of our young men and women who have defended our people with the indomitable courage of Joshua, David, and the Maccabees of old. We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing modern Jewish state.
In Israel, we walk the same paths tread by our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But we blaze new trails in science, technology, medicine, agriculture.
In Israel, the past and the future find common ground.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in many other countries. For today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval.
The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred.
The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified.
These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East.
Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens:  men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – all are equal before the law.

Israel is also making the world a better place: our scientists win Nobel Prizes. Our know-how is in every cell-phone and computer that you’re using. We prevent hunger by irrigating arid lands in Africa and Asia.
Recently, I was deeply moved when I visited Technion, one of our technological institutes in Haifa, and I saw a man paralyzed from the waist down climb up a flight of stairs, quite easily, with the aid of an Israeli invention.
And Israel’s exceptional creativity is matched by our people’s remarkable compassion. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world – in Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey Indonesia and elsewhere – Israeli doctors are among the first on the scene, performing life-saving surgeries.

In the past year, I lost both my father and my father-in-law. In the same hospital wards where they were treated, Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs. In fact, every year, thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian territories and Arabs from throughout the Middle East come to Israel to be treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors.
I know you’re not going to hear that from speakers around this podium, but that’s the truth. It’s important that you are aware of this truth.
It’s because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace.

We seek to preserve our historic ties and our historic peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. We seek to forge a durable peace with the Palestinians.

President Abbas just spoke here.
I say to him and I say to you:
We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. That’s not the way to solve it. We won’t solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood.
We have to sit together, negotiate together, and reach a mutual compromise, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish State.
Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.

Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this.
They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world.
Militant Islam has many branches – from the rulers of Iran with their Revolutionary Guards to Al Qaeda terrorists to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe.
But despite their differences, they are all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed first at their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn’t submit to their unforgiving creed.
They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict.
I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness.
We’ve seen that happen before.
Some five hundred years ago, the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age. Eventually, ignorance gave way to enlightenment.
So too, a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of freedom and technology. When this happens, our region will be guided not by fanaticism and conspiracy, but by reason and curiosity.

I think the relevant question is this: it’s not whether this fanaticism will be defeated. It’s how many lives will be lost before it’s defeated.
We’ve seen that happen before too.
Some 70 years ago, the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. It went down in flames. But not before it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end they triumphed, but at an horrific cost.
My friends, we cannot let that happen again.
At stake is not merely the future of my own country. At stake is the future of the world. Nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons.
To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda.
It makes no difference whether these lethal weapons are in the hands of the world’s most dangerous terrorist regime or the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. They’re both fired by the same hatred; they’re both driven by the same lust for violence.
Just look at what the Iranian regime has done up till now, without nuclear weapons.
In 2009, they brutally put down mass protests for democracy in their own country. Today, their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children, directly participating in this murder.
They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. Before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut and in Saudi Arabia. They’ve turned Lebanon and Gaza into terror strongholds, embedding nearly 100,000 missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies.
In the last year, they’ve spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents – from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They’ve even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat.
And of course, Iran’s rulers repeatedly deny the Holocaust and call for Israel’s destruction almost on a daily basis, as they did again this week from the United Nations.

So I ask you, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons. Imagine their long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs.
Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who would be safe in Europe? Who would be safe in America? Who would be safe anywhere?

There are those who believe that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred like the Soviet Union.
That’s a very dangerous assumption.
Militant Jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists. There were no Soviet suicide bombers. Yet Iran produces hordes of them.
Deterrence worked with the Soviets, because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose their survival.
But deterrence may not work with the Iranians once they get nuclear weapons.

There’s a great scholar of the Middle East, Prof. Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement.
Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth.
That’s not just what they believe. That’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.
Just listen to Ayatollah Rafsanjani who said, I quote:  “The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything, however it would only harm the Islamic world.”
Rafsanjani said: “It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”
Not irrational…
And that’s coming from one of the so-called moderates of Iran.

Shockingly, some people have begun to peddle the absurd notion that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually stabilize the Middle East.
Yeah, right…
That’s like saying a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda would usher in an era of universal peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’ve been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years.
I spoke about it in my first term in office as Prime Minister, and then I spoke about it when I left office. I spoke about it when it was fashionable, and I spoke about it when it wasn’t fashionable.
I speak about it now because the hour is getting late, very late. I speak about it now because the Iranian nuclear calendar doesn’t take time out for anyone or for anything. I speak about it now because when it comes to the survival of my country, it’s not only my right to speak; it’s my duty to speak. And I believe that this is the duty of every responsible leader who wants to preserve world peace.
For nearly a decade, the international community has tried to stop the Iranian nuclear program with diplomacy.
That hasn’t worked.
Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program.

For over seven years, the international community has tried sanctions with Iran. Under the leadership of President Obama, the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date.
I want to thank the governments represented here that have joined in this effort. It’s had an effect. Oil exports have been curbed and the Iranian economy has been hit hard.
It’s had an effect on the economy, but we must face the truth. Sanctions have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program either.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, during the last year alone, Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges in its underground nuclear facility in Qom.
At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. That’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war.
Look at NATO’s charter: it made clear that an attack on one member country would be considered an attack on all.  NATO’s red line helped keep the peace in Europe for nearly half a century.
President Kennedy set a red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That red line also prevented war and helped preserve the peace for decades.
In fact, it’s the failure to place red lines that has often invited aggression.

If the Western powers had drawn clear red lines during the 1930s, I believe they would have stopped Nazi aggression and World War II might have been avoided.
In 1990, if Saddam Hussein had been clearly told that his conquest of Kuwait would cross a red line, the first Gulf War might have been avoided.
Clear red lines have also worked with Iran.
Earlier this year, Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormouz. The United States drew a clear red line and Iran backed off.
Red lines could be drawn in different parts of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But to be credible, a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program: on Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium. Now let me explain why:
Basically, any bomb consists of explosive material and a mechanism to ignite it.
The simplest example is gunpowder and a fuse. That is, you light the fuse and set off the gunpowder.
In the case of Iran’s plans to build a nuclear weapon, the gunpowder is enriched uranium. The fuse is a nuclear detonator.
For Iran, amassing enough enriched uranium is far more difficult than producing the nuclear fuse.
For a country like Iran, it takes many, many years to enrich uranium for a bomb. That requires thousands of centrifuges spinning in tandem in very big industrial plants. Those Iranian plants are visible and they’re still vulnerable.
In contrast, Iran could produce the nuclear detonator – the fuse – in a lot less time, maybe under a year, maybe only a few months.
The detonator can be made in a small workshop the size of a classroom. It may be very difficult to find and target that workshop, especially in Iran. That’s a country that’s bigger than France, Germany, Italy and Britain combined.
The same is true for the small facility in which they could assemble a warhead or a nuclear device that could be placed in a container ship. Chances are you won’t find that facility either.
So in fact the only way that you can credibly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, is to prevent Iran from amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb.
So, how much enriched uranium do you need for a bomb? And how close is Iran to getting it?
Let me show you. I brought a diagram for you. Here’s the diagram.

**************

This is a bomb; this is a fuse.
In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages.
The first stage: they have to enrich enough of low enriched uranium.
The second stage: they have to enrich enough medium enriched uranium.
And the third stage and final stage: they have to enrich enough high enriched uranium for the first bomb.
Where’s Iran? Iran’s completed the first stage. It took them many years, but they completed it and they’re 70% of the way there.
Now they are well into the second stage. By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage.
From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.

*****************

Ladies and Gentlemen,
What I told you now is not based on secret information. It’s not based on military intelligence. It’s based on public reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Anybody can read them. They’re online.
So if these are the facts, and they are, where should the red line be drawn?

The red line should be drawn right here
…………..

Before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.
Before Iran gets to a point where it’s a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.
Each day, that point is getting closer. That’s why I speak today with such a sense of urgency. And that’s why everyone should have a sense of urgency.
Some who claim that even if Iran completes the enrichment process, even if it crosses that red line that I just drew, our intelligence agencies will know when and where Iran will make the fuse, assemble the bomb, and prepare the warhead.
Look, no one appreciates our intelligence agencies more than the Prime Minister of Israel. All these leading intelligence agencies are superb, including ours. They’ve foiled many attacks. They’ve saved many lives.
But they are not foolproof.
For over two years, our intelligence agencies didn’t know that Iran was building a huge nuclear enrichment plant under a mountain.
Do we want to risk the security of the world on the assumption that we would find in time a small workshop in a country half the size of Europe?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb.
The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target.
I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.
This will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether.

Two days ago, from this podium, President Obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be contained.
I very much appreciate the President’s position as does everyone in my country. We share the goal of stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program. This goal unites the people of Israel.  It unites Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike and it is shared by important leaders throughout the world.
What I have said today will help ensure that this common goal is achieved.
Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue, and I am confident that we can chart a path forward together.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The clash between modernity and medievalism need not be a clash between progress and tradition.
The traditions of the Jewish people go back thousands of years.  They are the source of our collective values and the foundation of our national strength.
At the same time, the Jewish people have always looked towards the future. Throughout history, we have been at the forefront of efforts to expand liberty, promote equality, and advance human rights.
We champion these principles not despite of our traditions but because of them.
We heed the words of the Jewish prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Jeremiah to treat all with dignity and compassion, to pursue justice and cherish life and to pray and strive for peace.
These are the timeless values of my people and these are the Jewish people’s greatest gift to mankind.
Let us commit ourselves today to defend these values so that we can defend our freedom and protect our common civilization.

Thank you.

Israel Political Brief September 27, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu draws “red line” on Iran’s nuclear program in UN Speech

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu draws “red line” on Iran’s nuclear program

http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20120927&t=2&i=657485540&w=&fh=&fw=&ll=460&pl=300&r=CBRE88Q1ETE00
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew his “red line” for Iran’s nuclear program on Thursday despite a U.S. refusal to set an ultimatum, saying Tehran will be on the brink of a nuclear weapon in less than a year…..READ MORE

Israel Political Brief September 23, 2012: Israel envoy to UN: Act to right wrong to Jews expelled from Arab lands

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel envoy to U.N.: Act to right wrong to Jews expelled from Arab lands

Source: JTA, 9-23-12

The United Nations must act to right the “historic wrong” done to Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries, said Israel’s U.N. ambassador to the world body, Ron Prosor….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief September 11, 2012: White House, President Barack Obama Reject Meeting With PM Benjamin Netanyahu

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

White House Rejects Meeting With Netanyahu

Source: Israel National News, 9-11-12

The White House said that there was ‘no time for a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack H. Obama.
U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama
Flash 90

The White House told Israel Tuesday that there would be no meeting later this month between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack H. Obama. The two had been set to meet in the days after both Obama and Netanyahu spoke at the UN General Assembly, but on Tuesday, Israeli officials said that the meeting had been canceled altogether by Obama, due to “schedule issues.”

A tentative meeting had been set for Thursday or Friday September 27 or 28, after both leaders spoke at the UN. Obama was scheduled to speak on Tuesday, September 18, while Netanyahu was likely to speak on Thursday – a day after Yom Kippur, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad ws set to speak. Netanyahu’s office had sent a message to the White House indicating that the Prime Minister wanted to meet Obama, and that he was prepared to travel to Washington to do so, since he understood that the President had a tough campaigning schedule in advance of the Presidential elections.

This will mark the first time that Netanyahu will be on U.S. soil and will not meet with Obama. The rejection of the meeting comes scant weeks before the U.S. Presidential elections. Polls show Obama running roughly evenly with his challenger, Governor Mitt Romney….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 8, 2012: Israel Will Not Cooperate with UN Fact-Finding Mission on West Bank Settlements

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel won’t cooperate with U.N. fact-finding mission on settlements

Source: JTA, 7-8-12

Israel said it will not cooperate with a United Nations fact-finding mission on how Israel’s West Bank settlements affect Palestinians….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 24, 2012: Iran nuclear talks end without clear progress

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Iran nuke talks end without clear progress

Source: JTA, 5-24-12

Talks between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program ended with Iran reportedly reluctant to advance without sanctions concessions.

The talks conducted on Wednesday and Thursday in Baghdad between Iran and Russia, the United States, China, Britain France and Germany ended inconclusively, multiple media reports said, because Iran wanted a hold on major European oil sanctions set to kick in July 1 in exchange for staying at the table.

 

Western powers have emphasized that sanctions would remain in place until Iran provably made its program more transparent and suspended some enrichment of uranium — a key demand of Israel, which has expressed concern that Iran is buying time with the talks.

 

The next round of talks will be held in Moscow, June 17-19.

 

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Western experts say evidence increasingly suggests that Iran is close to a capability to build a nuclear weapon.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on Iran at a Civil Service Commission event

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks on Iran

Photo by GPO

“Iran wants to destroy Israel, and it is developing nuclear weapons to fulfill that goal.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminding world powers they need to be tough after the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that the agency had reached a deal with Iran that would allow it to resume a long-stalled search for evidence that Iran worked secretly to build nuclear arms.

Source: PMO, 5-21-12

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks this evening at a Civil Service Commission event:

“In recent weeks, I have heard those who have cast doubt on Iran’s intentions.  They said that when Iran’s leaders declare that they will wipe Israel off the map, they really mean something else in Persian.  It would be interesting to hear what they think of the Iranian Chief-of-Staff’s remarks yesterday: ‘Iran is committed to the complete destruction of Israel.’  This is clear and simple.  Iran’s goals are clear.  It wants to annihilate Israel and is developing nuclear weapons to realize this goal.

Iran threatens Israel, peace and the entire world.  Against this malicious intention, the world’s leading countries must show determination, not weakness.  They do not need to make concessions to Iran.  They need to set clear and unequivocal demands before it: Iran must halt all enrichment of nuclear material.  It must remove from its territory all nuclear material that has been enriched up until now and it must dismantle the underground nuclear facility in Qom.  Only thus will it be possible to ensure that Iran will not have a nuclear bomb.  This is Israel’s position; it has not changed and it will not change.”

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