ariel sharon

President Shimon Peres: “My dear friend, Arik Sharon, lost his final battle today. Arik was a brave soldier and a daring leader who loved his nation and his nation loved him. He was one of Israel’s great protectors and most important architects, who knew no fear and certainly never feared vision. He knew how to take difficult decisions and implement them. We all loved him and he will be greatly missed. I send my condolences to the Sharon family, may he rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “The State of Israel bows its head on the passing of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Ariel Sharon played a central role in the struggle for the security of the State of Israel over all its years. He was, first and foremost, a courageous fighter and an outstanding general, and was among the IDF’s greatest commanders. From his youth, he served the people of Israel on the battlefield. He did so as a soldier in the War of Independence, a commander in the [1956] Sinai campaign and the Six Day War, and up to his decisive role in the battle over the Suez Canal that led to the turning point in the Yom Kippur War. He established Unit 101 and took the initiative in the war against terrorism, which became a central pillar of the State of Israel. Upon leaving the military, he continued to work on behalf of the people of Israel both in his many government roles and as the 11th prime minister of the State of Israel. His memory will be enshrined forever in the heart of the nation.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman: “Ariel Sharon served the State of Israel from its establishment until the last moment he could, taking part in the central events that shaped its character. Sharon will be remembered first of all as a great military commander who led many important battles, most importantly the crossing of the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War, as well as the battles of Israel’s War of Independence and the establishment of the special 101 Unit, the Sinai Campaign, and more. Sharon’s political legacy has always been controversial, from his tenure as Chairman of the Ministerial Settlement Committee which strengthened Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, to the disengagement from Gaza which he initiated and implemented. He will go down in the history of Israel as one of the most noteworthy and influential figures.”

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes the European Union decision to include Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations:

“I welcome the fact that the EU has also declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization and I thank the leaders of its member states.

In recent years, the State of Israel has invested great effort in explaining to all EU member states that Hezbollah is the terrorist arm of the Iranian regime and perpetrates attacks around the world. For years, the organization has carried out attacks against innocent civilians across the globe. Recently, it has sought to perpetrate dozens of attacks, some of which were actually carried out, in Asia, Africa, America and Europe, including the reprehensible murder in Bulgaria and an attack that was foiled in Cyprus.

At the same time, thousands of this terrorist organization’s operatives are daily perpetrating war crimes in Syria and participating in the slaughter being carried out there, alongside Assad’s forces; they have murdered approximately 100,000 innocent civilians so far.

 

As far as the State of Israel is concerned, Hezbollah is one organization, the arms of which are indistinguishable. It has imposed terrorist rule on wide sections of Lebanon, has converted them into an Iranian protectorate and is stockpiling tens of thousands of rockets there. These have been placed in the heart of civilian populations and are designed to be fired at population centers in Israel.

I hope that the implementation of the decision will lead to tangible steps against the organization.”

(Communicated by the Office of the President)

Following the decision by the European Union to include Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations President Peres sent special letters to the leaders of the European Union.

President Shimon Peres, today (Monday, 22 July 2013), sent special letters to the leaders of the European Union, following their unanimous decision to include the military wing of Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations.

In the letters President Peres wrote, “I welcome the European Union’s decision regarding Hezbollah, a significant and necessary step towards putting an end to the spread of terror across the globe. The devastating effects of terror are not restricted to the Middle East. As we witnessed in the horrific attack in Bulgaria, Hezbollah strikes all over the world, including within Europe, indiscriminately targeting innocent civilians. Your decision sends a clear message to terror organizations and the countries which harbor them that their murderous actions will not be tolerated.”

 

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)

Today, July 18, marks 19 years since the horrific terrorist attack on the AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building in Argentina. Eighty-five people were killed in the attack, and hundreds more were wounded.

The victims of the AMIA bombing joined the dozens of murdered and wounded victims of the bomb attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in March 1992.

The State of Israel shares the deep grief of the Jewish community in Argentina as well as its outrage that justice has not yet been done.  The vile people who conceived, planned and carried out this heinous crime continue to walk among us, free to plan and execute additional acts of terror around the globe.

The Argentine authorities, who investigated the AMIA attack and published their findings in a report by the special prosecutor, indicated that the government of Iran and its executive arm, Hezbollah, were behind the attack. Israel calls upon the Argentine authorities to not let up and to make all the efforts necessary to swiftly bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.

At the same time, we wish to express our feeling of solidarity with the bereaved families, the Jewish community in Argentina and the entire Argentine people and to convey to them a message of friendship. In the face of the forces of evil that seek to harm us, our unity is our strength.

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Ron Dermer as Israel’s next Ambassador to the US. Over the past four years, Dermer has served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser and previously (2005-2008) served as the economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

Dermer is 42, married and the father of five children. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and holds a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford.

In 2004, Natan Sharansky and Dermer wrote The Case For Democracy: The Power Of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny And Terror, which became a best-seller and has been translated into ten languages.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Ron Dermer has all the qualities necessary to successfully fill this important post. I have known him for many years and I know that Ron will faithfully represent the State of Israel in the capital of our greatest ally – the USA. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I wish him great success.”

 

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)

This is a dark day for UNESCO, a day the organization will want to erase from its history as it demonstrates that it is acting outside the boundary of reality. Today, in the debates held by the World Heritage Committee in Phnom Penh, a Palestinian resolution on Jerusalem was submitted to a vote.

Exactly as Israel had warned in the recent past, the Palestinians are exploiting their admission to UNESCO as a member state in order to hijack the agenda and drag this important UN agency into the abyss of politicized manipulation. The resolution, which was adopted against the better judgment of the majority, is nothing but a heap of statements disconnected from reality. There is no linkage between the resolution’s language and the actual situation on the ground, as the text only reflects the clichés of the anti-Israel bubble which the Palestinians cultivate within UNESCO at the expense of the worthy causes the organization is supposed to promote around the world.

Israel will uphold its commitments and its sovereign responsibility by continuing to ensure freedom of worship to all faiths in Jerusalem, even as UNESCO insists on turning its back on reality and wreaking damage to the interests of member-states through the regurgitation of the dictates of Palestinian propaganda.

peres letter boston

 

Israel Responds to the Bombings in Boston

President Shimon Peres, this afternoon (Tuesday, April 16th), at his residence in Jerusalem, hosted a reception for the foreign diplomatic corps in honor of Israel’s 65th Independence Day. The reception was attended by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the members of the diplomatic corps, and leaders of Israel’s faith groups.

In their remarks, President Peres and PM Netanyahu sent their condolences to the victims and their families of the terrorist attack on the marathon in Boston, expressed Israel’s solidarity with the American people and condemned the bombings.

Following Monday’s tragic bombing, first responders and doctors performed heroically in saving many lives. Alastair Conn, the chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital, told reporters Monday that the hospital received training from an Israeli team of experts two years ago. Israel routinely offers disaster assistance to countries all around the world, as well as, in this case, training for hospitals and cities to prepare for large scale incidents.

Said Conn, “About two years ago in actual fact we asked the Israelis to come across and they helped us set up our disaster team so that we could respond in this kind of manner.”

 

President Shimon Peres:

(Communicated by the Office of the President)

“Permit me to express our solidarity with the bereaved families in Boston today. Three people lost their lives, 140 were wounded and I want to send on behalf of all of us, our condolences to all the families and wish a speedy recovery to all the injured. When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family. We feel a part of the people who paid such a high price. God bless them. Today the real problem is terror and terror is not an extension of policy, their policy is terror, their policy is to threaten. Terrorists divide people, they kill innocent people.”

 

PM Benjamin Netanyahu:

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

“Yesterday, a day of enjoyment in Boston was turned into a day of terror. We send our condolences to President Obama, the American people and the bereaved families. On this day and on any day, Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the American people. We are partners in freedom and in seeking a better future for all humanity.”

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Sec. Kerry: I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for, first of all, his extraordinary hospitality yet again. We had an extremely friendly, very productive, long discussion last night. I think it’s fair to say that we made progress, that we were pleased with the substance of the discussion and agreed, each of us, to do some homework. And we’re going to do our homework over the course of the next weeks, and today we’re going to continue some of that discussion with a view to seeing how we can really pull all of the pieces together and make some progress here.

And I want to thank the Prime Minister for his good faith efforts here. It’s been serious; it’s been focused; and I would characterize it as very productive.

We have been talking about some economic initiative, but I think both of us, and the Prime Minister just said this: we want to make it absolutely clear that whatever steps we take with respect to economics are in no way a substitute, but they are in addition to the political track. The political track is first and foremost; other things may happen to supplement it.

Secondly, with respect to Iran, I have reiterated to the Prime Minister, as I did yesterday to the President, President Obama could not be more clear: Iran cannot have and will not have a nuclear weapon. The United States of America has made clear that we stand not just with Israel, but with the entire international community in making it clear that we are serious, we are open to negotiation, but it is not an open-ended, endless negotiation. It cannot be used as an excuse for other efforts to try to break out with respect to a nuclear weapon. And we are well aware and coordinating very, very closely with respect to all of our assessments regarding that. But President Obama doesn’t bluff. He’s made that very clear to me, and we hope the Iranians will come back to the table with a very serious proposal.

PM Netanyahu: Thank you, John. It’s good to see you again in Jerusalem and to work at our common goal for peace. I am determined not only to resume the peace process with the Palestinians, but to make a serious effort to end this conflict once and for all. This has economic components. We welcome any initiatives that you and others will bring forward in this regard, but it also has a political component – political discussions that will address a myriad of issues, foremost in our minds the questions of recognition and security. This is a real effort, and we look forward to advance in this effort with you.

We’ve been talking about several other issues, and I’ll only mention two. First, we’ve been talking about Syria and the human tragedy there, but the fragmentation of that country is creating a situation where one of the most dangerous stockpiles of weapons in the world is now becoming accessible to terrorists of every shade and hue. This is of great concern for both of us, for both the United States and Israel, and we are talking about addressing this problem specifically.

And last and certainly not least, we’ve been talking about Iran. I think everybody understands that Iran has been running out the clock, has been using the talks to continue to advance its nuclear program. We’ve just heard by Iranian state television about a new production facility for nuclear material and two new extraction sites. I think we also understand what it means for the world to have rogue states with nuclear weapons. Iran cannot be allowed to cross into that world. It cannot be allowed to continue its nuclear weapons program, and we must not allow it to continue to do so in defiance of the entire international community.

These are the three most obvious subjects we have been talking about. You may not believe it, but we have actually talked about a few others as well, and it’s good to see again, John.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that he had good talks with US President Barack Obama on the issue of regional cooperation and the importance of Israeli-Turkish relations. The Prime Minister expressed regret over the deterioration in bilateral relations and noted his commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he saw Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent interview in a Danish newspaper and expressed his appreciation for the latter’s remarks. The Prime Minister made it clear that the tragic results regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life. In light of the Israeli investigation into the incident, which pointed out several operational errors, Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also noted that Israel has already lifted several restrictions on the movement of civilians and goods to all of the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, and added that this will continue as long as the quiet is maintained. The two leaders agreed to continue to work on improving the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.

President Obama, who just left Israel for Jordan, issued a statement which read “The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security.” The statement went on to read “I am hopeful that today’s exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities.”

Press Conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States President Barack Obama at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Netanyahu: Mr. President, Barack, it’s a great pleasure to host you here in Jerusalem. You’ve graciously hosted me many times in Washington, so I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to reciprocate. I hope that the good will and warmth of the people of Israel has already made you feel at home.

President Obama:  Very much so.

PM:  We had an opportunity today to begin discussing the wide range of issues that are critical to both our countries, and foremost among these is Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Mr. President, you have made it clear that you are determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. I appreciate your forthright position on this point. I also appreciate that you have noted, that you have acted to thwart this threat, both through determined diplomacy and strong sanctions that are getting stronger yet. Notwithstanding our joint efforts and your great success in mobilizing the international community, diplomacy and sanctions so far have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program. And as you know, my view is that in order to stop Iran’s nuclear programs peacefully, diplomacy and sanctions must be augmented by a clear and credible threat of military action.

In this regard, Mr. President, I want to thank you once again for always making clear that Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threats. I deeply appreciate those words because they speak to the great transformation that has occurred in the life of the Jewish people with the rebirth of the Jewish state. The Jewish people only two generations ago were once a powerless people, defenseless against those who sought our destruction. Today we have both the right and the capability to defend ourselves. As you said earlier today, the essence of the State of Israel, the essence of the rebirth of the Jewish state, is the fulfillment of the age-old dream of the Jewish people: to be masters of our fate in our own state, and I think that was a wonderful line that I will cherish, because it really gets down to the essence of what this state is about.

That is why I know that you appreciate that Israel never cede the right to defend ourselves to others, even to the greatest of our friends, and Israel has no better friend than the United States of America.

So I look forward to continue to work with you to address what is an existential threat to Israel, and a great threat to the peace and security of the world.

Mr. President, we discussed today the situation in Syria. We share the goal of seeing a stable and peaceful Syria emerge from the carnage that we have witnessed over the last two years. That carnage is already resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 people and the suffering of millions. We also share a determination to prevent the deadly arsenal of weapons within Syria from falling into terrorist hands. And I have no doubt that the best way to do that is to work closely with the United States and other countries in the region to address this challenge; and that is what we intend to do.

Finally, Mr. President, your visit gave us an opportunity to try to find a way to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians. My new government was sworn in two days ago. I know there have been questions regarding what the policy of the new government will be towards peace with the Palestinians. So let me be clear: Israel remains fully committed to peace and to the solution of two states for two peoples. We extend our hands in peace and in friendship to the Palestinian people. I hope that your visit, along with the visit of Secretary of State Kerry will help us turn a page in our relations with the Palestinians. Let us sit down at the negotiating table. Let us put aside all preconditions. Let us work together to achieve the historic compromise that will end our conflict once and for all.

Let me conclude, Mr. President, on a personal note: I know how valuable the time and the energies of the American president, of yourself. This is the tenth time that we have met since you became President and since I became Prime Minister. You’ve chosen Israel as your first venue in your foreign visits in your second term. I want to thank you for the investment you have made in our relationship, and in strengthening the friendship and alliance between our two countries. It is deeply, deeply appreciated.

You have come here on the eve of Passover. I’ve always considered it as our most cherished holiday. It celebrates the Jewish people’s passage from slavery to freedom. Through the ages, it has also inspired people struggling for freedom, including the founding fathers of the United States. So it’s a profound honor to host you, the leader of the free world, at this historic time in our ancient capital.

Mr. President. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.

מח’ מידע והפקה – אגף תקשורת

20 מרץ 2013