Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with America not only as friends but as partners in the quest for freedom for all humanity, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in an address to heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Israel, consuls, honorary consuls and heads of religious communities.
Netanyahu was speaking at the annual Independence Day reception for the diplomatic corps and the heads of churches and other faiths traditionally hosted at his official residence by the President of the State.
Netanyahu discarded a prepared text and preferred to speak extemporaneously, following the example of President Shimon Peres who had spoken before him.
Both men began their address by expressing their condolences to President Barak Obama, the American people and the families of those who lost their lives in the Boston explosion and wished the injured a speedy recovery. Peres voiced “solidarity and pain with the bereaved families” saying “when it comes to something like this we are all one family.”
Although Netanyahu and Peres have had their disagreements in the past, they were on the same wave length on Tuesday, so much so that Netanyahu said that there are many things that he wants to thank Peres for, but most of all for his eternal optimism, his eternal youth and his eternal curiosity.
Israel’s three primary goals are achieving peace with the Palestinians based on the principle of a two-state solution; stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and making Israel more tranquil, more peaceful and more secure Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Israel, consuls, honorary consuls and heads of religious communities on Tuesday.
Speaking as a former diplomat himself, Netanyahu emphasized the importance of cables that ambassadors send to their home countries, observing that what isn’t in the cable doesn’t exist.
Because ambassadors are in a position to observe what is really going on, Netanyahu urged them to send cables that explain Israel’s fervent desire for peace.
Referring to Monday’s Remembrance Day ceremonies for the fallen, Netanyahu said that there is no family in Israel that has not lost a loved one a relative or a friend in war. “We know the sorrow of war and the anguish of battle,” he said. “We know that war affects not only our soldiers but our citizens. No-one yearns more for peace.”
For those people who may have been unfamiliar with the history behind the Middle East conflict, Netanyahu explained that a two state solution was not a new idea. This is what was proposed in the United Nations resolution on the partition of Palestine long before there was any talk of a Palestinian state. Ben Gurion said yes to the UN resolution, but the Arab states said no. “We said yes then, and we say it now,” Netanyahu asserted. But 65 years ago, when the Arabs could have had another Arab state, they chose instead to attack the fledgling State of Israel, and have continued with their persistent refusal to accept a Jewish State.
The two-state solution gets to the core of the problem and resolves the problem said Netanyahu, but it must be anchored in security for Israel, he stipulated.
“We have to be able to defend ourselves. This is a prerequisite for peace.” There have to be solid security arrangements, he insisted.
With regard to Iran, Netanyahu warned as he has done in the past, that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran would have dire consequences for world stability. “Tough sanctions and tough talk do not always do the job,” he said, as he entreated all the ambassadors to impress their governments with the dangers that lie in store for the world if Iran is permitted to continue with its nuclear program.
Peres also spoke of the dangers of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands and pointed to North Korea as an example.
He said that it was difficult for nations to maintain security today, because armies cannot fight terrorists. Terrorism is not an extension of policy he said, because there are many terrorist organizations, and they have no policy. They are divisive.
Peres said that Israel seeks peace and if it turns to arms, “it is only to defend ourselves.” Israel is divided on what strategies to employ when fighting terror, Peres acknowledged, but is united in opposing terror.
The divisiveness generated by terrorist organizations also extends to the Palestinians, Peres noted. There are huge differences between Hamas in Gaza and the PLO in the West Bank, he said. Even if Israel wanted to establish policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians it can’t because the Palestinians are divided said Peres.
He congratulated Netanyahu for having achieved a unified position of two states for two nations with regard to Israel’s dealing with the Palestinians. It was much more difficult before when Israel was ideologically divided said Peres, adding that a two state solution was preferable to one state for two peoples where one is making life impossible for the other. “Better to be good neighbors than bad citizens in the same country.”
To those who are wary of peace with the Palestinians, Peres commented: “If you have to make peace – do it with your enemy.”
Peres received many goodwill messages from world leaders over the past few days. Among the most notable were: those from Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Frances. Obama referred to his recent visit to Israel and recalled that 65 years ago America was the first nation to recognize Israel as an independent state just 11 minutes after the state was proclaimed.
Putin said that he was satisfied with the friendly character of Russian-Israeli relations and that he was convinced that further cooperation can be developed in political, trade, economic, scientific-technical, humanitarian and other fields.
The Pope assured Peres that the president and Israel were in his prayers.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/PM-on-Boston-blast-We-stand-shoulder-to-shoulder-with-US-309972