Excerpts: 'We will remain brothers'

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's May 4 address to the Knesset

By
May 8, 2006 20:32

 
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I like many others... dreamed and yearned that we would be able to keep the entire land of Israel, and that the day would never come when we would have to relinquish parts of our land. Only those who have the land of Israel burning in their souls know the pain of relinquishing and parting with the land of our forefathers. I personally continue to advocate the idea of the entire land of Israel as a heart's desire. I believe with all my heart in the people of Israel's eternal historic right to the entire land of Israel. However, dreams and recognition of this right do not constitute a political program. Even if the Jewish eye cries, and even if our hearts are broken, we must preserve the essence. We must preserve a stable and solid Jewish majority in our State. Therefore, we must focus on the area in which a Jewish majority is secured and ensured. The disengagement from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria was an essential first step in this direction, but the main part is still ahead. The continued dispersed settlement throughout Judea and Samaria creates an inseparable mixture of populations which will endanger the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. It is those who believe, as I do, in Jabotinsky's teachings and in full civil equality between Jews and Arabs, who must understand that partition of the land for the purpose of guaranteeing a Jewish majority is the lifeline of Zionism. I know how hard it is, especially for the settlers and those faithful to Eretz Yisrael, but I am convinced, with all my heart, that it is necessary and that we must do it with dialogue, internal reconciliation and broad consensus. THIS DOES not mean that the settlement enterprise was entirely in vain. On the contrary. The achievements of the settlement movement in its major centers will forever be an inseparable part of the sovereign State of Israel, with Jerusalem as our united capital. Let us come together around this consensus and turn it into a uniting political and moral fact. The strength of this nation is in its unity. I will not help those wishing to cause a rift among the sectors of our nation. It is my intention to take all future steps through continuous dialogue with the wonderful settlers in Judea and Samaria. We are brothers and we will remain brothers. FROM THIS podium, I again address the elected President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas. The Government of Israel under my leadership prefers negotiations with a Palestinian Authority committed to the principles of the road map, which fights terror, dismantles terrorist organizations, abides by the rules of democracy and upholds, practically and thoroughly, all agreements which have thus far been signed with the State of Israel... ...A Palestinian Government led by terrorist factions will not be a partner for negotiation, and we will not have any practical or day-to-day relations. The State of Israel is prepared to wait for this necessary change in the Palestinian Authority. We will closely follow the conduct of the Authority. We will continue to strike at terror and terrorists. We will not hesitate to reach terrorists, their dispatchers and operators anywhere - I repeat - anywhere, but we will give the Authority an opportunity to prove that it is aware of its responsibilities and willing to change. That said, we will not wait forever. The State of Israel does not want, nor can it suspend the fateful decisions regarding its future - until the Palestinian Authority succeeds in implementing the commitments it undertook in the past. If we reach the conclusion that the Authority is dawdling and is not planning to engage in serious, substantial and fair negotiation - we will act in other ways. We will also act without an agreement with the Palestinians to create an understanding which will, first and foremost, be founded on a correct definition of the desired borders for the State of Israel. These borders must be defensible, and ensure a solid Jewish majority. The Security fence will be adjusted to the borders formulated east and west. The operational range of the security forces will not be limited... The State of Israel will invest its resources in areas which will be an organic part of it. The borders of Israel, which will be defined in the coming years will be significantly different from the areas controlled by the State of Israel today. This is the Government's plan, it is the basis for its existence, it is the commitment made to the Israeli electorate whose trust we asked for - and received. The agreement to which we aspire to shape the Middle East is based on consensus, broad consensus first and foremost within ourselves, and thereafter with our friends around the world. No political process, certainly not one as fundamentally decisive and comprehensive as the one for which we are preparing, can be realized without the understanding of many officials in the international community. We have no intention of acting alone. We will consult, discuss, talk, and I am certain that we will reach understandings which will create a broad base of international backing for these steps, first and foremost with our ally and close friend, the United States led by President George Bush, and also with our friends in Europe. ISRAEL STRIVES to improve the understandings and agreements with the countries of Europe. Today's European leaders better understand the complexity of the situation in the Middle East. They understand that there are no simple solutions, certainly given the upswing in fundamentalist religious fanaticism in various countries in the Middle East, and the ascendancy of the pro-Iranian Hamas to the Palestinian Authority. We will deepen dialogue with Europe and strive to include its leaders in the dialogue process with the United States. ...I aspire to deepen the ties with Arab countries. Egypt and Jordan, countries with which we have peaceful relations, have leaders who are inspirational. President Mubarak and King Abdullah II are welcome, credible and responsible partners... I will do all that I can so that our relations with Egypt and the Jordanian Kingdom will continue to strengthen, and serve as a basis for diplomatic and open relations with additional Arab countries. ...The threat emanating from Iran is casting a heavy pall over the entire region and is endangering world peace. The pursuit by this rogue and terror-sponsoring regime of nuclear weapons is currently the most dangerous global development, and the international community must do its utmost to stop it. The statements by the President of Iran should not be taken lightly - he means what he says. The State of Israel, which is targeted for destruction by the evil leaders of Teheran, is not helpless. However, only a decisive and uncompromising international stand against Iran's goals can eliminate this threat to world peace...

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