Has Dershowitz Lost The Plot?

 

Alan Dershowitz is apparently either unable, or unwilling, to talk straight when it comes to Obama‘s hypocrisy re Israel.  And it is truly a terrible thing to read Dershowitz’s pathetic rationalisations of the suicidal ‘compromises’ Israel is being pressured to make at the behest of the Obama administration.

 

Melanie Phillips says it best:

 

The American lawyer Alan Dershowitz is one of the most prolific, high-profile and indefatiguable defenders of Israel and the Jewish people against the tidal wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling currently coursing through the west. So a piece by him in the Wall Street Journal giving expression to the rising anxiety being felt about Obama by American Jews naturally arouses great interest.

 

But just like the majority of American Jews, getting on for 80 per cent of whom voted for Obama, he is a Democrat supporter who is incapable of acknowledging the truth about this President. For most American Jews, the horror of even entertaining the hypothetical possibility that they might ever in a million years have to vote for a Republican is so great they simply cannot see what is staring them in the face — that this Democratic President is lethal for both Israel and the free world.

 

And in this article Dershowitz shows that he too is just as blind. Acknowledging the anxiety among some American Jews about Obama’s attitude to Israel, Dershowitz concludes uneasily that there isn’t really a problem here because all Obama is doing is putting pressure on Israel over the settlements, which most American Jews don’t support anyway.

 

But this is totally to miss the point. The pressure over the settlements per se is not the reason for the intense concern. It is instead, first and foremost, the fact that Obama is treating Israel as if it is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Obama thus inverts aggressor and victim, denying Israel’s six-decade long victimisation and airbrushing out Arab aggression.

 

The question remains: why has Obama chosen to pick a fight with Israel while soft-soaping Iran which is threatening it with genocide? The answer is obvious: Israel is to be used to buy off Iran just as Czechoslovakia was used at Munich.

 

Indeed, I would say this is worse even than that, since I suspect that Obama – coming as he does from a radical leftist milieu, with vicious Israel-haters amongst his closest friends — would be doing this to Israel even if Iran was not the problem that it is.

 

In any event, the double standard is egregious. Obama has torn up his previous understandings with Israel over the settlements while putting no pressure at all on the Palestinians, even though since they are the regional aggressor there can be no peace unless they end their aggression and certainly not until they accept Israel as a Jewish state, which they have said explicitly they will never do.

 

On this, Obama is totally silent. So too is Dershowitz. That’s some omission.

 

Next, Obama is pressuring Israel to set up a Palestine state – within two years this will exist, swaggers Rahm Emanuel. But everyone knows that as soon as Israel leaves the West Bank, Hamas – or even worse – will take over. The only reason the (also appalling) Abbas is still in Ramallah, enabling Obama to pretend there is a Palestinian interlocutor for peace, is because the Israelis are keeping Hamas at bay.

 

Yet Dershowitz writes: “There is no evidence of any weakening of American support for Israel`s right to defend its children from the kind of rocket attacks candidate Obama commented on during his visit to Sderot.”

 

 So what exactly does he think would happen if Israel came out of the West Bank and the Hamas rockets were down the road from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (literally: many in the west have absolutely no idea how tiny Israel is). It’s not a question of Israel’s ‘right to defend its children’.

 

If Obama has his way, Israel would not be able to defend its children or anyone else, because Obama would have removed its defences by putting its enemies in charge of them.

 

It is astounding that Dershowitz can’t see this. Then there was Obama’s appalling Cairo speech — which I wrote about here – in which he conspicuously refrained from committing himself to defending Zionism and the Jewish people from the attacks and incitement to genocide against them, but committed himself instead to defending their attackers against ‘negative stereotyping’.

 

On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Worse still, by falsely asserting that the Jewish aspiration for Israel derived from the Holocaust, Obama effectively denied that the Jewish people were in Israel as of right and thus endorsed the core element of the Arab and Muslim propaganda of war and extermination.

 

On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Obama drew a vile – and telling – equivalence between the Nazi extermination camps and the Palestinian ‘refugee’ camps. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Obama`s statement that the Palestinians ‘have suffered in pursuit of a homeland’ was grossly and historically untrue, and again denied Arab aggression. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say.

 

Equally vilely, Obama equated genocidal terrorism by the Palestinians with the civil rights movement in America and the resistance against apartheid in South Africa. On all of this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Dershowitz also grossly underplays the terrible harm Obama is doing to the security not just of Israel but the world through his reckless appeasement of Iran.

 

In the last few weeks, this has actively undercut the Iranian democrats trying to oust their tyrannical regime, and has actually strengthened that regime. All the evidence suggests ever more strongly that Obama has decided America will ‘live with’ a nuclear Iran, whatever it does to its own people. Which leaves Israel hung out to dry.

 

 But even here, where he is clearly most concerned, Dershowitz scuttles under his comfort blanket – Dennis Ross, who was originally supposed to have been the US special envoy to Iran but was recently announced senior director of the National Security Council and special assistant to the President for the region. It is not at all clear whether this ambiguous development represents a promotion or demotion for Ross.

 

Either way, for Dershowitz to rest his optimism that Obama’s Iran policy will be all right on the night entirely upon the figure of Dennis Ross is pathetic. Ross, a Jew who played Mr. Nice to Robert Malley’s Mr. Nasty towards Israel in the Camp David debacle under President Clinton, is clearly being used by Obama as a human shield behind which he can bully Israel with impunity.

 

American Jews assume that his proximity to Obama means the President’s intentions towards Israel are benign. Dazzled by this vision of Ross as the guarantor of Obama’s good faith, they thus ignore altogether the terrible import of the actual words coming out of the President’s mouth.

 

The fact is that many American Jews are so ignorant of the history of the Jewish people, the centrality of Israel in its history and the legality and justice of its position that they probably saw nothing wrong in Obama saying that the Jewish aspiration for Israel came out of the Holocaust because they think this too.

 

Nor do they see the appalling double standard in the bullying of Israel over the settlements and what that tells us about Obama’s attitude towards Israel, because – as Dershowitz himself makes all too plain — they too think in much the same way, that the settlements are the principal obstacle to peace. Many if not most American Jews have a highly sentimentalised view of Israel. They never go there, are deeply ignorant of its history and current realities, and are infinitely more concerned with their own view of themselves as social liberals, a view reflected back at themselves through voting for a Democrat President.

 

 Whatever else he is, however, Dershowitz is certainly not ignorant. Which makes this lamentable article all the more revealing, and depressing.

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Deja Vu

 

Throughout Jewish history, enemies have burned and destroyed our books. People who know Jews and who understand the Jewish religion and even more, the Jewish psychology, understand that we are a people who revere books and the written word. Indeed, as one commentator on Judaism once wrote, while we are banned from worshipping anything bar G-d, the closest we ever come to this is our deep love and adoration of the Torah.

 

So it was with a sense of historical deja vu that I read today’s headlines about Arabs attacking a yeshiva in Samaria yesterday, and torching dozens of books including a Torah and also volumes from the Talmud. The attack was pure spite – the arsonists ignored everything else there and attacked only the books. Clearly, some of our Arab cousins do understand the Jewish love of words and books – and struck us where they knew it would wound.

 

Rabbi Elishama Cohen, head of the yeshiva, said: “It was a horrible sight to see dozen of holy books of the Talmud and Bible burned almost completely.”

 

And he added:

“The Arabs did this very thoroughly and carefully. We succeeded in saving the remains of some of the burned books and several pages where the letters still are recognizable, the same pages we learned the past several days.”

 

Rabbi Cohen said that instead of the spirit of the yeshiva students being broken, their numbers will increase next year as a reaction to desecration. Samaria Regional Council chairman Gershon Mesika called on the police to search and arrest the perpetrators. Police said they have begun an investigation.

 

Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon commented:

 

“Whoever has not yet understood with whom we are dealing should look at the pictures of the burnt holy books. If Jews had burned dozens of Muslim books, the whole world would be shaking.”

 

Yule Edelstein, Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs, said. “To my sorrow, this grave incident is a result of classic anti-Semitism and a reminder of the dark days of the past. It is sad to think that if there were permanent homes and official security, we would not be witness to this grave incident.”

 

Israel’s Stark Choices

 

I wish I could disagree with the following article; I wish the conclusions reached by the author were wrong.  Alas, I fear he’s spot on in this candid appraisal of the unpalatable options now confronting Israel.

And for those people who keep insisting that Jews are ‘over reacting’ when we express alarm about Israel, I’d just like to remind you: when the Jews first tried to reveal what had been happening in the concentration camps, what were many of them told? ‘Stop whining’.

So excuse us if we ignore those who dismiss  the threats facing Israel.

This superb piece is from the Sultan Knish blog– do check it out, you’ll find some great articles there.

 

Ending Arab Terrorism for Good and the Awful Question of the Moment

 

 

In 1775 the American colonies had an awful question facing them. So do we today. So do we always. The awful question does not go away merely because it remains ignored, unasked or dismissed as impractical. The awful question is not rooted in philosophy or wishful thinking. It requires facing reality and making a choice.

 

The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country…and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings. – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

 

 The goal of Zionism was to create a Jewish state in the land of Israel, the ancestral home of the Jewish people, from which we were repeatedly forcibly expelled and to which we repeatedly struggled and sacrificed to return to. The Palestinian Mandate of the League of Nations under British authority where a Jewish homeland was supposed to be created consisted of 43,000 square miles bordering Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

 

A vast territory. Of that 43,000 square miles, 32,500 square miles (more than 75 percent) were used by the British to create Jordan ruled by the Hashemite kings transferred over from Saudi Arabia, which was given to the house of Saud. In 1931 the British attempted to limit Jewish immigration in violation of the Mandate and were thwarted by the League of Nations.

 

 In 1939 the League of Nations was gone and as the Nazis began their Final Solution of Jewish question the British succeeded in blocking escape to Israel. Millions of Jews died in the Holocaust who could have lived because the British diverted ships they took from America under the Lend-Lease act to block fleeing Jews.

 

Their blood is on the Empire’s hands. The British incited Arab riots against Jews, as Lawrence of Arabia had previously incited Arab revolts against the Turks. One such attack wiped out the Jewish community in Hevron. The British did nothing against to prevent the attacks but disarmed and suppressed the Jewish settlers at every turn. In Jerusalem they handed over two Jewish fighters outright to an Arab mob which tore them apart on the spot.

 

By the time the Jews of Europe were under the German knife, it had long since become clear that England had no intention of honoring the mandate. That England did not want a Jewish state. They wanted to dismantle Israel into Arab colonies ruled by their appointed kings such as the Kingdom of Jordan or the American backed House of Saud. They wanted colonies they would control and they were willing to see and even collaborate in the deaths of millions of Jews to bring it about.

 

When Israel was founded in 1948 it was after a prolonged armed campaign against British authority and over British objections on a mere 5000 square miles of land out of a territory nearly ten times that amount. After the 1967 war Israel liberated an additional mere 2500 square miles of territory it had been entitled to in the first place. And the world has never stopped demanding that Israel turn over that land to a terrorist regime that has used it to launch attacks on Israel and murder Jews.

 

The United States and Europe do this not merely out of Anti-Semitism, though that is undoubtedly a factor particularly in Europe. They do this because they believe it will pacify the Arabs. This is the refrain and has been the refrain in columns, in publications, by politicians and diplomats all in one voice proclaiming that the extremism, the terrorism and the hostility towards America and Europe would die down if Israel didn’t exist.

 

Never mind the absurdity of this belief, it is premised on a colonialist vision of the world in which the Arabs can be pacified by feeding them a little Israel.

 

 It has never worked and it will never work. But that too doesn’t matter. What does matter is this, independence. A final end to colonialism. While the British flag went down in Israel long ago, other flags have always risen in its place. The French flag, the American, even the Russian. Israel and most of the world’s Jews believe that Israel needs a friend, a big brother, a protector to survive. They forget that the true protector is in heaven and that the big countries we ally with become nothing more than crutches that break under us.

 

Colonialism will not end and independence will not be achieved until the psychological cycle of dependency is finally broken.

 

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty?

Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

 

 The illusion Patrick Henry was referring to was the continued delusional belief that there was a way out of the situation besides Independence. The colonists faced a Britain determined to stamp out traces of rebelliousness by remaking the colonies in an image closer to the Mother Country with a state Anglican Church, tightly centralized controls and heavy taxation. They had the choice to submit or to resist.

 

 The illusion Israel faces today is the belief that it can satisfy the demands of the world and still survive. That there is some way out that will satisfy the Palestinian Arabs with enough land and thus satisfy the world and still live on in security.

 

There is no such way. There never was. The Arab desire from the beginning has been the destruction of the land of Israel and the creation of Arab states on that land to redeem their honor. There has never been a different agenda on the table. They are willing to fight for that and die for it and if things go on as they are now, they will succeed.

 

There will not be an Israel, there will be only millions more dead Jews and a stream of refugees seeking shelter around the world. Some will continue to label this paranoid or far fetched but what is happening now are the early stages of that very process, the anhiliation of Israel and the majority of the Jewish people who now reside there.

 

They may point to Israel’s technological and military superiority but like any strategic tool, they only matter when the nation’s leaders are prepared to use them. When you bomb empty buildings and airports, it may work as a bluff once or twice, but when you keep doing it, it becomes obvious that you’re bluffing. The enemy’s response to your bluff will then be to call your bluff by escalating further.

 

When Israel responded to an attack on its territory and the kidnapping of one of its soldiers with a hollow show of force while secretly negotiating for his release, they sent the go-ahead signal to Hizbullah to follow suit resulting in fighting on two fronts. Israel has no credibility left when it comes to the use of force. Sending in military forces into Gaza and bombing empty buildings may look impressive for the cameras but to the enemy it looks like a show and it turns Israel into a paper tiger, as Bill Clinton turned America into a paper tiger.  9/11 swiftly followed.

 

Yet even this show of force was condemned by the world as excessive and outrageous. In fact any military or defensive act by Israel is typically condemned by the world. Not because Israel is an agressor, but because there are 21 Arab countries and only one tiny Israel in the middle east sitting on a few thousand square miles of land. Because there are one billion Muslims in the world who all agree that Israel must go and the world thinks the destruction of Israel is a small price to pay for appeasing them, just as the world thought the destruction of Czechoslovakia was a small price to pay for appeasing Hitler.

 

As the Arabs increase their demands, the world follows suit. If Israel retreats from the West Banks, the Arabs will demand the Galilee and soon the Negev. Then they will demand Haifa and any part of Israel with a sizable Arab population. At no point will the world say enough is enough.

 

 As far as the Arabs and the world is concerned Jews in Israel are all settlers and the rights of the Arabs always trump those of the Jews. There is no point in railing against this or arguing right and wrong with the world. The world does not care. It never has.

 

When 300,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis the New York Times put it on the back page.

When an Arab terrorist is assassinated by Israel it makes the front page complete with condemnations.

 

We can protest, threaten boycotts and argue till we’re blue in the face. This is how it’s always been. This is how it always is. Justice only comes to those willing to fight for it. It is rarely given out of righteousness, it is most often established as a boundary by force.

 

The awful question of the moment is whether Israel really wants to survive and is willing to do what it takes. The first step is a declaration of independence. Independence from the world’s demands, from the road map and Cslo, from American and European pressure and money. There will be consequences of course but there are consequences already. Boycotts by Churches and Universities are being planned and implemented regardless of what Israel does. They will spread regardless of what Israel does.

 

Israel will not survive by the favor of the world but by taking its fate into its own hands.

 

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past…And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication?

 

What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated…

 

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt…In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

 

Peace has been tried. Co-existence has been tried. Every effort has been made to appease the Arabs and the world short of steps that would outright annhiliate Israel. Cold peace treaties were signed with the Arabs and kept only after it was clear to the Arab side that further conflict was futile.

 

No such ray of light has penetrated the Palestinian Arabs or the Shiite terrorists in Lebanon or the Iranian government. We are approaching a conflict, whether we want one or not. The only choice is whether we will strike a decisive blow first as we did in 1967 and achieve victory or whether we will allow our friends and allies to ties our hands as they did in 1973 resulting in a near-defeat and a near-anhiliation.

 

Oslo began the road to this war. It will no longer be a war against outside enemies but against internal ones as well. If Israel is to survive, a Palestinian state cannot exist within or near its borders. Nor can there be any sizable numbers of Arabs within Israel driven by a hostile intent towards the country. Oslo and Madrid can only be treated as experiments that failed. All 1967 territories must be annexed to Israel. All Arabs inside them have a choice of taking on Israeli citizenship and swearing allegiance or leaving.

 

The same choice has to be offered to Arabs in Israel as well. The world that cares so deeply about the Palestinian Arabs, while not caring in the least when Sudanese Arabs killed millions of Africans, will now have the chance to take those very same Palestinian Arabs in, welcoming them to London, Paris, Dublin and Brussels. England which after all had imported large numbers of Arabs in the 19th century to begin with as part of their colonial program should justly bear the largest share of the burden.

 

I’m not under any illusion that these nations will cooperate with such a program, but the world is a big place and Israel is a very small one. Too small to house millions of sworn enemies bent on its destruction. This will result in collective global outrage even though half the UN has done similar things with far less cause.

 

Just ask Turkey to return Cyprus, England to return Gibraltar or America to return Hawaii. You’ll be met with derisive laughter. That laughter should be the exact response to any further proposals for a Palestinian state. Countries have regularly drawn and redrawn their borders and expelled foreign populations. In fact Kuwait and Iraq expelled their own Palestinians after the two Iraqi wars. Israel should be no different.

 

Of course everyone shudders to contemplate what will come next after such a step. But what horror will happen?

*The world will condemn us?  The world already condemns us. All the time.

* Everyone will hate Israel?  Pretty much everyone hates us already.

* There will be a worldwide boycott? Unlikely. There will be smaller scale boycotts but those are happening anyway. The Arabs boycott Israel already. The Europeans are along the road to doing so. America isn’t likely to boycott Israel no matter what and the reality is Israel does millions of dollars worth of business even with the Arab countries despite the boycott.

 * Tourism will stop? Tourism will slow down but the appeal of Israel for most Christians will remain unchanged. They don’t come for Israel’s foreign policy but for the sights of the Bible.

 

Terrorism has done a lot more to retard Israel’s tourism than its foreign policy. Arab terrorism has been a wound in Israel’s side for a long time. Removing it for good will be bloody and painful but it will secure Israel’s future and bring domestic security and an era of real peace. Our enemies will no longer be inside our borders but outside them. As it is we have been fiddling with the bandage for decades and the pain has been tremendous and the damage to the nation, economically, diplomatically, militarily and in every other sense has far outweighed what removing it in one moment would have cost.

 

And the time is approaching now when we will no longer have the ability to remove it and by then it will be too late to do anything but flee or die. We have delayed too long, deluded ourselves for even longer. There is no multilateral or unilateral solution that will bring peace. Only removing the hostile population can do that. The Arabs inside and outside Israel have had their chance to live in peace with us. Those who have made their choice, have made it. Now it’s time to make ours.

 

 “They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?… Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

 

Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations…The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery!…

 

The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come. It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field!” Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Bibi’s Speech – It Beat Obama Hands Down For Integrity

Here’s the transcript of Bibi Netanyahu’s speech. As you’ll see, he made the vital and perfectly reasonable demand that any Palestinian state be fully demilitiarised, so as to ensure Israel’s security.

 

“Honored guests, citizens of Israel.

Peace has always been our people’s most ardent desire. Our prophets gave the world the vision of peace, we greet one another with wishes of peace, and our prayers conclude with the word peace.

We are gathered this evening in an institution named for two pioneers of peace, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, and we share in their vision.

Two and half months ago, I took the oath of office as the Prime Minister of Israel. I pledged to establish a national unity government – and I did. I believed and I still believe that unity was essential for us now more than ever as we face three immense challenges – the Iranian threat, the economic crisis, and the advancement of peace.

The Iranian threat looms large before us, as was further demonstrated yesterday. The greatest danger confronting Israel, the Middle East, the entire world and human race, is the nexus between radical Islam and nuclear weapons. I discussed this issue with President Obama during my recent visit to Washington, and I will raise it again in my meetings next week with European leaders. For years, I have been working tirelessly to forge an international alliance to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Confronting a global economic crisis, the government acted swiftly to stabilize Israel’s economy. We passed a two year budget in the government – and the Knesset will soon approve it.

And the third challenge, so exceedingly important, is the advancement of peace. I also spoke about this with President Obama, and I fully support the idea of a regional peace that he is leading.

I share the President’s desire to bring about a new era of reconciliation in our region. To this end, I met with President Mubarak in Egypt, and King Abdullah in Jordan, to elicit the support of these leaders in expanding the circle of peace in our region.

I turn to all Arab leaders tonight and I say: “Let us meet. Let us speak of peace and let us make peace. I am ready to meet with you at any time. I am willing to go to Damascus, to Riyadh, to Beirut, to any place- including Jerusalem.

I call on the Arab countries to cooperate with the Palestinians and with us to advance an economic peace. An economic peace is not a substitute for a political peace, but an important element to achieving it. Together, we can undertake projects to overcome the scarcities of our region, like water desalination or to maximize its advantages, like developing solar energy, or laying gas and petroleum lines, and transportation links between Asia, Africa and Europe.

The economic success of the Gulf States has impressed us all and it has impressed me. I call on the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world to come and invest here and to assist the Palestinians – and us – in spurring the economy.

Together, we can develop industrial areas that will generate thousands of jobs and create tourist sites that will attract millions of visitors eager to walk in the footsteps of history – in Nazareth and in Bethlehem, around the walls of Jericho and the walls of Jerusalem, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee and the baptismal site of the Jordan.

There is an enormous potential for archeological tourism, if we can only learn to cooperate and to develop it.

I turn to you, our Palestinian neighbors, led by the Palestinian Authority, and I say: Let’s begin negotiations immediately without preconditions.

Israel is obligated by its international commitments and expects all parties to keep their commitments.

We want to live with you in peace, as good neighbors. We want our children and your children to never again experience war: that parents, brothers and sisters will never again know the agony of losing loved ones in battle; that our children will be able to dream of a better future and realize that dream; and that together we will invest our energies in plowshares and pruning hooks, not swords and spears.

I know the face of war. I have experienced battle. I lost close friends, I lost a brother. I have seen the pain of bereaved families. I do not want war. No one in Israel wants war.

If we join hands and work together for peace, there is no limit to the development and prosperity we can achieve for our two peoples – in the economy, agriculture, trade, tourism and education – most importantly, in providing our youth a better world in which to live, a life full of tranquility, creativity, opportunity and hope.

If the advantages of peace are so evident, we must ask ourselves why peace remains so remote, even as our hand remains outstretched to peace? Why has this conflict continued for more than sixty years?

In order to bring an end to the conflict, we must give an honest and forthright answer to the question: What is the root of the conflict?

In his speech to the first Zionist Conference in Basel, the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, said about the Jewish national home “This idea is so big that we must speak of it only in the simplest terms.” Today, I will speak about the immense challenge of peace in the simplest words possible.

Even as we look toward the horizon, we must be firmly connected to reality, to the truth. And the simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland.

In 1947, when the United Nations proposed the partition plan of a Jewish state and an Arab state, the entire Arab world rejected the resolution. The Jewish community, by contrast, welcomed it by dancing and rejoicing.

The Arabs rejected any Jewish state, in any borders.

Those who think that the continued enmity toward Israel is a product of our presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, is confusing cause and consequence.

The attacks against us began in the 1920s, escalated into a comprehensive attack in 1948 with the declaration of Israel’s independence, continued with the fedayeen attacks in the 1950s, and climaxed in 1967, on the eve of the six-day war, in an attempt to tighten a noose around the neck of the State of Israel.

All this occurred during the fifty years before a single Israeli soldier ever set foot in Judea and Samaria.

Fortunately, Egypt and Jordan left this circle of enmity. The signing of peace treaties have brought about an end to their claims against Israel, an end to the conflict. But to our regret, this is not the case with the Palestinians. The closer we get to an agreement with them, the further they retreat and raise demands that are inconsistent with a true desire to end the conflict.

Many good people have told us that withdrawal from territories is the key to peace with the Palestinians. Well, we withdrew. But the fact is that every withdrawal was met with massive waves of terror, by suicide bombers and thousands of missiles.

We tried to withdraw with an agreement and without an agreement. We tried a partial withdrawal and a full withdrawal. In 2000 and again last year, Israel proposed an almost total withdrawal in exchange for an end to the conflict, and twice our offers were rejected.

We evacuated every last inch of the Gaza strip, we uprooted tens of settlements and evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes, and in response, we received a hail of missiles on our cities, towns and children.

The claim that territorial withdrawals will bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least advance peace, has up till now not stood the test of reality.

In addition to this, Hamas in the south, like Hezbollah in the north, repeatedly proclaims their commitment to “liberate” the Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Beersheba, Acre and Haifa.

Territorial withdrawals have not lessened the hatred, and to our regret, Palestinian moderates are not yet ready to say the simple words: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it will stay that way.

Achieving peace will require courage and candor from both sides, and not only from the Israeli side.

The Palestinian leadership must arise and say: “Enough of this conflict. We recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in this land, and we are prepared to live beside you in true peace.”

I am yearning for that moment, for when Palestinian leaders say those words to our people and to their people, then a path will be opened to resolving all the problems between our peoples, no matter how complex they may be.

Therefore, a fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

To vest this declaration with practical meaning, there must also be a clear understanding that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel’s borders. For it is clear that any demand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel’s continued existence as the state of the Jewish people.

The Palestinian refugee problem must be solved, and it can be solved, as we ourselves proved in a similar situation. Tiny Israel successfully absorbed tens of thousands of Jewish refugees who left their homes and belongings in Arab countries.

Therefore, justice and logic demand that the Palestinian refugee problem be solved outside Israel’s borders. On this point, there is a broad national consensus. I believe that with goodwill and international investment, this humanitarian problem can be permanently resolved.

So far I have spoken about the need for Palestinians to recognize our rights. In a moment, I will speak openly about our need to recognize their rights.

But let me first say that the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel has lasted for more than 3500 years. Judea and Samaria, the places where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David and Solomon, and Isaiah and Jeremiah lived, are not alien to us. This is the land of our forefathers.

The right of the Jewish people to a state in the land of Israel does not derive from the catastrophes that have plagued our people. True, for 2000 years the Jewish people suffered expulsions, pogroms, blood libels, and massacres which culminated in a Holocaust – a suffering which has no parallel in human history.

There are those who say that if the Holocaust had not occurred, the state of Israel would never have been established. But I say that if the state of Israel would have been established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occured.

    This tragic history of powerlessness explains why the Jewish people need a sovereign power of self-defense. But our right to build our sovereign state here, in the land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged.

    As Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proclaimed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence: “The Jewish people arose in the land of Israel and it was here that its spiritual, religious and political character was shaped. Here they attained their sovereignty, and here they bequeathed to the world their national and cultural treasures, and the most eternal of books.”

    But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them.

    In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other.

    These two realities – our connection to the land of Israel, and the Palestinian population living within it – have created deep divisions in Israeli society. But the truth is that we have much more that unites us than divides us.

    I have come tonight to give expression to that unity, and to the principles of peace and security on which there is broad agreement within Israeli society. These are the principles that guide our policy.

    This policy must take into account the international situation that has recently developed. We must recognize this reality and at the same time stand firmly on those principles essential for Israel.

    I have already stressed the first principle – recognition. Palestinians must clearly and unambiguously recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. The second principle is: demilitarization. The territory under Palestinian control must be demilitarized with ironclad security provisions for Israel.

    Without these two conditions, there is a real danger that an armed Palestinian state would emerge that would become another terrorist base against the Jewish state, such as the one in Gaza.

    We don’t want Kassam rockets on Petach Tikva, Grad rockets on Tel Aviv, or missiles on Ben-Gurion airport. We want peace.

    In order to achieve peace, we must ensure that Palestinians will not be able to import missiles into their territory, to field an army, to close their airspace to us, or to make pacts with the likes of Hezbollah and Iran. On this point as well, there is wide consensus within Israel.

    It is impossible to expect us to agree in advance to the principle of a Palestinian state without assurances that this state will be demilitarized.

    On a matter so critical to the existence of Israel, we must first have our security needs addressed.

    Therefore, today we ask our friends in the international community, led by the United States, for what is critical to the security of Israel: Clear commitments that in a future peace agreement, the territory controlled by the Palestinians will be demilitarized: namely, without an army, without control of its airspace, and with effective security measures to prevent weapons smuggling into the territory – real monitoring, and not what occurs in Gaza today. And obviously, the Palestinians will not be able to forge military pacts.

    Without this, sooner or later, these territories will become another Hamastan. And that we cannot accept.

    I told President Obama when I was in Washington that if we could agree on the substance, then the terminology would not pose a problem.

    And here is the substance that I now state clearly:

    If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitirization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.

    Regarding the remaining important issues that will be discussed as part of the final settlement, my positions are known: Israel needs defensible borders, and Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel with continued religious freedom for all faiths.

    The territorial question will be discussed as part of the final peace agreement. In the meantime, we have no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements.

    But there is a need to enable the residents to live normal lives, to allow mothers and fathers to raise their children like families elsewhere. The settlers are neither the enemies of the people nor the enemies of peace. Rather, they are an integral part of our people, a principled, pioneering and Zionist public.

    Unity among us is essential and will help us achieve reconciliation with our neighbors. That reconciliation must already begin by altering existing realities. I believe that a strong Palestinian economy will strengthen peace.

    If the Palestinians turn toward peace – in fighting terror, in strengthening governance and the rule of law, in educating their children for peace and in stopping incitement against Israel – we will do our part in making every effort to facilitate freedom of movement and access, and to enable them to develop their economy. All of this will help us advance a peace treaty between us.

    Above all else, the Palestinians must decide between the path of peace and the path of Hamas. The Palestinian Authority will have to establish the rule of law in Gaza and overcome Hamas. Israel will not sit at the negotiating table with terrorists who seek their destruction.

    Hamas will not even allow the Red Cross to visit our kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who has spent three years in captivity, cut off from his parents, his family and his people. We are committed to bringing him home, healthy and safe.

With a Palestinian leadership committed to peace, with the active participation of the Arab world, and the support of the United States and the international community, there is no reason why we cannot achieve a breakthrough to peace.

Our people have already proven that we can do the impossible. Over the past 61 years, while constantly defending our existence, we have performed wonders.

Our microchips are powering the world’s computers. Our medicines are treating diseases once considered incurable. Our drip irrigation is bringing arid lands back to life across the globe. And Israeli scientists are expanding the boundaries of human knowledge.

If only our neighbors would respond to our call – peace too will be in our reach.

I call on the leaders of the Arab world and on the Palestinian leadership, let us continue together on the path of Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein. Let us realize the vision of the prophet Isaiah, who in Jerusalem 2700 years ago said: “nations shall not lift up sword against nation, and they shall learn war no more.”

With G-d’s help, we will know no more war. We will know peace.