Excerpted from the speech the ambassador gave on Monday
I wish to state the profound and enduring wish of my nation to establish peace
with the Palestinians. A peace based on security and mutual recognition. A peace
that will ensure prosperity for our two peoples.
Peace can only be
achieved through direct negotiations and compromise from both
Israel has continued to show that it is willing to take bold
measures and make difficult decisions in pursuit of peace.
To this end,
Israel helped encourage impressive growth in the Palestinian economy, removing
hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank. We took this action
despite legitimate security concerns and continued terrorism.
heavy heart, Israel put in place a self-imposed and unprecedented 10-month
moratorium on settlement construction.
We are hopeful that the
Palestinians will take the measures necessary for peace. After refusing to
engage in direct negotiations for nine months during the moratorium, the
Palestinians – who at first belittled the gesture – now demand its extension as
a precondition for continuing talks.
Settlements are one of many issues
that need to be resolved in final status negotiations. History has shown that
they do not stand in the way of making peace – as seen by peace agreements that
were achieved with Egypt and Jordan.
Furthermore, when Israel dismantled
all of its settlements in the Gaza Strip, it received terrorism and rocket fire
on towns and communities in return.
Israel welcomes the extremely
important efforts of the US administration to promote peace and security in the
In this regard, the US is closely engaged with Israel and other
parties to get direct talks back on track.
In looking for a way forward,
we must build any future agreement on the principles of mutual recognition and
A request that Israel recognize a Palestinian state as the
nation-state of the Palestinian people must be met with an acknowledgement that
Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. After generations of conflict,
mutual recognition will be essential in overcoming a long history of incitement,
combating terrorism and establishing peaceful coexistence between our two
Any peace agreement must also clearly address Israel’s security
concerns with strong arrangements in the field. The diverse and dangerous
threats facing Israel remain significant.
With support from the Iranian
and Syrian regimes, extremist terrorist organizations in the region continue to
rearm and stage attacks on Israeli civilians. The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip
remains an epicenter for terror and a launching ground for continuous rocket
attacks against Israel. In Lebanon, the Hizbullah terrorist organization serves
as a constant obstacle to peace and security for all in the
Establishing peace will require more than declarations or
signatures on a piece of paper, it will necessitate concrete actions on the
ground. With this in mind, the wider Arab world must also show Israelis and
people around the globe that its declarations of peace will extend beyond words
– and translate into deeds.
THE UNSC will discuss in detail the
implementation of Resolution 1701 in a few weeks, but in advance of that
discussion I would like to share a few thoughts about the continued challenges
emanating from Lebanon, where radical forces continue to pose a threat to
stability in the region.
As we approach the upcoming report on Resolution
1701, it remains clear that Hizbullah continues to build up its military
capabilities and armaments, acquiring sophisticated weaponry and missiles from
its Iranian and Syrian patrons.
Its deadly rearmament endangers Lebanon
itself as well as the wider Middle East. This terrorist organization continues
to deploy weapons and builds its military infrastructure throughout the civilian
villages of southern Lebanon, adjacent to schools, hospitals, houses of worship
and residential buildings.
Evidence of this phenomenon can be found in a
series of explosions of Hizbullah weapons caches south of the Litani River over
the past 15 months. The last such explosion took place in the Lebanese village
of Sheabiyya on September 3.
Unfortunately, despite having real-time
information about all of these incidents, the Lebanese Armed Forces did not
intervene in a timely or robust manner. Furthermore, there is clear proof that
Hizbullah removed evidence from all of these sites.
Its provocations and
continued rearmament must not go unanswered by the Security Council, which has
repeatedly and clearly stipulated that this terrorist organization must disarm
and disband as a key issue addressed in Resolution 1701.
We also call on
the Syrian government to refrain from engaging in actions that destabilize the
region. While Syria claims to seek peace, it continues to support terror. There
are numerous indications that the Syrian regime is hosting Hizbullah training
camps inside of its territory, including locations where operatives receive
training on missiles and other weapons. This reflects just the tip of the
iceberg in terms of Syria’s extensive support for terrorism in the
If Syria truthfully wants to embrace the full spirit of peace, it
must completely abandon its support for terror.
LET ME now turn to the
greatest danger facing the Middle East and the world: Iran. The visit last week
of Iran’s president to Lebanon underscores the destabilizing impact of this
extremist regime in our region. A leader that denies the Holocaust, promotes
conspiracy theories about the September 11 terrorist attacks and calls for
Israel to be wiped off the map, Iran’s president only advances the causes of
destruction and instability.
His regime’s support provides a lifeline to
the terrorist organizations of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah, which could
not exist without Iran. Relying on these proxies, Iran seeks to foil any
movement toward rapprochement between Israel and the Palestinians as well as
other parties in the region. Thus, in searching for a durable agreement with the
Palestinians we must also confront this threat with firm resolve.
like to note that while Iran’s president and his extremist allies seek to impose
fear, bloodshed and jihad on the population of Lebanon, there are many other
voices in the region. An open letter to President Ahmadinejad that was recently
published in the Lebanese media offers an example of one such voice. One passage
reads: “You are attempting to interfere, just like others that came before you,
in our affairs, where foreign interference was just to use Lebanon internally;
the big slogans and the good intentions could not decorate or block the actual
truth of this use.”
Even more alarming than its continued support of
terror is Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities.
behavior endangers not only our region, nor merely a specific group of
countries. It endangers us all – and must continue to be met by strong and
My comments would be incomplete without expressing our
ongoing deep concern that for more than four years our kidnapped soldier, Gilad
Schalit, has remained deprived of his most basic human rights, including any
visit from the Red Cross. Israel expects the international community to do all
in its power, and more than has been done thus far, to bring about his swift