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Dear friends, thank you very much. First I want to thank the CUMIPAZ, the Global Embassy and mainly Dr. William Soto Santiago, and to you Gabriela Lara for inviting me to speak here in this important conference; and I want to thank Guatemala on behalf of that Knesset as the deputy speaker of the Knesset. I want to thank Guatemala for being such a good friend of Israel, such an important ally of Israel: You are really one of our greatest allies.
To you CUMIPAZ and Global Embassy: I really wish to salute. I wish to salute you for having a conference that brings leaders from all over the world to discuss peace, to promote peace. I want to thank you for inviting me to speak about the Israeli⎼Palestinian conflict, about ways to bring peace in the Middle East and to the Israeli⎼Palestinian conflict; and I want to tell you that I salute you because today it’s not really popular to really promote peace. It’s popular to speak about peace, it’s popular to say: “I have a strong will to have peace”, but today it’s not really popular to really work hard, to really be brave in order to bring the long* for peace. And unfortunately for too many words, for too many people around the world, the word ‘peace’ became no more than a **.
The word peace remained just another word in our prayers, in our holy books and yes, unfortunately, for too many leaders in the Middle East today it not really pays to promote peace really, because after all to promote peace you have to be brave, not just to give great speeches; and in order to have peace or to achieve peace you have to make the necessary concessions and it’s hard to make the necessary concessions.
There are many leaders that don’t want or don’t know how to make the necessary concessions in order to achieve peace. It’s hard, by the way, to be in a position as a leader that not everybody likes you; it’s hard to be in a position that not everybody agrees with you; it’s very hard to be in a position that too many people are resisting you, sometimes demonizing you, sometimes even threatening you with your life; it’s hard. But this is exactly what it takes in order to be a leader. This is exactly the price we have to pay in order to be a leader, a real leader, a courageous leader and this is exactly the kind of leaders that we need in the Middle East, in Israel, in the Palestinian authority and in the Arab world.
We need leaders that are ready to walk the extra mile and to cross the Rubicon in order to achieve peace. And we used to have these kinds of leaders in the Middle East and in Israel. We made peace before, but unfortunately for too many leaders in the Middle East today it’s much easier to threat in war than to really walk the extra mile for peace; and this is very sad neighborhood and reality that we are living in. Even worse: Too many leaders prefer to manage the conflict, to manage the conflict rather than really try and solve it. They say to themselves and to the people: “It’s very hard to actually solve a conflict, it’s not very nice and pleasant to solve the conflict. So hey! Let’s manage the conflict.” This is a new invention today: managing of conflict.
My friends, brave leaders, don’t manage conflicts; brave leaders solve conflicts, even if it’s hard. Even if it’s very, very hard. That’s our duty and our obligation as leaders, even if it’s not always politically comfortable. A real leader doesn’t think only about the kind of comments and talk backs he will get in Facebook or in Twitter, and what will be his popularity rate in his community or in his party. A real leader does not think only about the next election results. And today, unfortunately, in many, many places this is exactly the situation.
A real leader should think what’s the best thing to do for the future of his country, for the future of his people, for the future of the next generations, the next generations on your side and yes also for the next generation in the other side of the conflict. Because my friends, in many, many conflicts, in most of the conflicts and definitely in the Israeli⎼Palestinian conflict the future and the destiny of both sides are connected to each other and dependent on the other, you cannot just detach them.
And I have to tell you, you know for me to be a proud Israeli, for me to be a proud Jewish, to be a proud Zionist, means also to work very, very hard in order to bring peace between my country Israel and its enemy; for me this is to be a proud Israeli. And indeed, you know I’m a very, very proud Israeli; I’m very proud to be Jewish; I’m very, very proud Zionist. And in many ways, in many, many ways I’m very proud of my country. I’m proud in what we managed to accomplish in Israel in only 70 years. We just celebrated 70 years, because since our creation 70 years ago the State of Israel has flourished as a country.
In Israel’s short history ⏤despite constant terror and five wars in seven decades⏤ we fulfilled the ancient Jewish dream of rebuilding our homeland in the Promised Land. The people of Israel have revived our biblical language, the Bible, small babies are speaking in Israel Hebrew the language of the Bible. Israel is competing every day as a world leader in technology and in science, and each day Israel pushes the boundaries of medicine and science to the end of human imagination. In Israel we have made literally the desert bloom. In only 70 years we have created a strong Israel, we created the modern Jewish State living in our ancient Jewish homeland. My friends, our people raised from the ashes of the Holocaust and created an oasis of liberty, democracy and freedom in the very, very heart of the Middle East.
So, indeed, for me Israel is a role model in too many things and it definitely makes me a proud Israeli. However, my friends, in order to be an even prouder Israeli, I want Israeli to be a role model also in aspiring for peace. I want Israel to demonstrate the world a real and genuine attempt to make peace, and we did it before.
You know it was Albert Einstein ⏤that was also Jewish⏤ and he said once, I quote: “Judaism* proved that the intellect is the best weapon in history. And it’s our duty as Jews to offer the world our traject experience to make the world learn from our traject experience, and while being faithful to our father’s tradition and morality we must be soldiers in the battle for peace.” This is what Albert Einstein said and Albert Einstein was right.
I got my decision to enter the public life in Israel while I served as a young officer in the Israeli Army, the IDF. I got this decision; at the moment I heard about the assassination of our prime minister, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Yitzhak Rabin was killed, murdered, assassinated only because he was trying to bring peace with the Palestinian. And I think that in a normal world, a normal State, in a just State, we cannot allow that any efforts for peace will be ended only due to a political assassination. It can’t happen and it won’t happen. And this is exactly why I’m very proud to be small parts of a large group of Israelis and Palestinians who are committed to try and reach peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and between Israel and part of the Arab world; those who want to bring peace with us. Because my friends each and everyone of us here will ask himself one day: “What did I do to promote peace?”
Each and everyone of us in Israel and among our neighbor will ask himself: “What did I do to promote peace in my neighborhood, in the Middle East in order to solve these Israeli⎼Palestinian conflict; and in order to leave my kids and grand-kids a better world, a safer world to live in?”
We the Israelis and the Palestinians have to be very honest and ask ourselves every single day: Do we want this very bloody and pay for reality that we have with each other to last forever? Do we really want to endow the next generations, a future of frustration, hatred, death and violence? Is that what we really want? The answer is: No. This is not what we hoped for when we established the State of Israel. Our destiny is not to submissively accept the existence of this conflict. It’s wrong, it’s against the Jewish spirit and it was never was the true intention of Zionism.
And therefore, the only right thing to do for the Israelis and Palestinians is to enter a deep and real process of negotiation, a deep and direct and honest negotiation. Peace cannot be forced on Israel and the Palestinians with any unilateral steps or unilateral decisions. An Israeli⎼Palestinian peace can be happening, can be a reality, only through direct, long and very brave negotiation between the two sides.
The Israeli politicians: I don’t see a lot of things that are more important to the Israeli agenda than a real and genuine attempt to reach peace with our enemies, with the Palestinians, with the moderate Arab world. And this is why if the chairperson of Knesset ** for the resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict, we worked very hard for two years to write a peace plan that was authorized in the institutions of my party and we are pitching it since then in Israel and around the world.
Of course I don’t have to time to go through you about the detail of the plan but I want to use the opportunity and tell you about seven general and most basic assumptions of our diplomatic outline:
1. As I already said before, the conflict management policy is an objective failure. It failed because thousands of missiles on the southern cities of Israel, thousands of casualties and dead people in both sides, growing hatred and demonization of the other side on both sides, a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Thousands of acres of Israeli agriculture that is getting burned in Israel every week; darkness, lack of hope. Is this how we manage the conflict? No thank you. And I always tell my Israeli brothers and sisters: Thinking that we can actually manage this conflicts forever is very, very wrong because even if we believe that we are right about everything ⏤and I think Israel is right about most of our assumptions and claims⏤ but even we are right about everything and even if we would manage to survive the entire hatred and the entire terror that will be thrown against us; we didn’t establish a country in order to survive in it. We established a country in order to live in it, a normal life and moral life. So a big ‘no’ to the conflict management.
2. The two-state solution, two nation states for two people is the only possible solution. One state with the Palestinians will never work, three states with Gaza will never work. Only the two-state solution can work for the long term. A strong and successful Israel, a Jewish and democratic State, the nation State of the Jewish people in our homeland next to a small and demilitarized Palestinian country. Two states that will live side-by-side, next to each other other, fairly and peacefully. Two states with a blue sky free of rockets and streets free of terror with education for peace and culture for peace and mutual strengthening of the economy, the environment, the academy on both States. And I was very, very happy that president Donald Trump, a big friend of Israel, a big supporter of Israel, said last week to Prime Minister Netanyahu that he supports the two-state solution. That he loves two-state solution. And if a great friend like Donald Trump said it, probably he understands that this is also very, very good for Israel.
3. The ‘no partner approach’ is a very defeatist approach and actually evading from responsibility. We need to help them build the partner in the other side of the conflict and not just to shout “there is no partner”, because in war and in conflict usually the partner is not nice, it’s not good, it’s the enemy. In war and in conflict usually the other partner will be bad for us, he will never be perfect. Egypt and Jordan was never perfect partners for Israel. Actually they were much bigger and bitter enemies than the Palestinians, but we made peace with them. So we need strong leadership to build a partner in the other side.
4. An Israeli⎼Palestinian agreement is possible and most of its parameters are known. My friend, we know how this solution for the Israeli⎼Palestinian conflict will look like more or less. We have endless amounts of accords and plans and outlines to resolve the Israeli⎼Palestinian conflict. And again what is needed is a strong and committed leadership in both sides that will make it happen. We did it before.
5. After the establishment of a Palestinian state, Israel will have a defensible borders. Everybody that said that when we will have the two-state solution, we cannot defend the State of Israel is not telling the truth. Because we have now a much bigger and bigger enemies that were coping ways every single day. So a smaller and demilitarized Palestinian State will not be a threat to Israel.
6. We have to work and create a positive momentum during negotiation. We can’t work only on the technical issues, only on the tangible issues, borders; we have to work also on the non-tangible issues like education for peace, like building a culture of peace and this is very important.
7. And the last point that I suggest is to include the regional stakeholders in the Middle East, in the Israeli⎼Palestinian peace process. We need to address the moderate Arab states, those who understand that Israel is in the Middle East and ask them to build bridges between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We have an Arab peace initiative that is laying on our table. I think that we should reply to it, not to agree to it necessarily or to all of it, but to reply to it.
So those are seven very important and basic points and assumptions we have to think about if we really want to promote an Israeli⎼Palestinian peace.
However my friends, to conclude after everything I said here, after all of this speech where I spoke mainly about my obligation as an Israeli for peace, allow me to say also a word to the Palestinians, to the Arab world. Allow me to say also a word to the enemies of Israel. I address Israel enemies and telling them: You should decide, really decide, if you want to live in the Middle East next to us or instead of us. Next to us or instead of us. You should decide because if you want to leave in the Middle East next to Israel we have an obligation to find the path for peace together, with you. But if you think you should live in the Middle East instead of Israel, you should know it will never ever, ever happen. And I am telling the enemies of Israel: If you want peace with Israel we must make sure that Israel will be more than willing to reach our hands for peace; but if you have some hidden dream to live one day in the Middle East without Israel, you should know Israel is here to stay.
My friends, peace is not a luxury, peace is a necessity, peace is our duty and obligation to the humanity, peace is a basic human right. Let’s take a decision right here to work really hard in order to promote peace in the Middle East and anywhere around the world. And if you didn’t understand the bottom line I will try to tell it in Spanish: Amigos la paz no es un lujo, la paz es una necesidad. Elijamos la paz.
access_time Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:10