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.”
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
President Shimon Peres, today (Thursday, March 14th 2013), at his Jerusalem residence, during a meeting with the leaders of the Catholic Church in Poland, welcomed the new Pope. President Peres said, “The newly elected Pope represents devotion, the love of God, the love of peace, a holy modesty and a new continent which is now awakening. We need, more than ever, a spiritual leadership and not just a political one. Where political leaders may divide, spiritual leaders may unite. Unite around a vision, unite around values, unite around a faith that we can make the world a better place to live. May the Lord Bless the new Pope.”
President Peres invited the new Pope to visit Israel and said, “I would like to take this opportunity to invite the newly elected Pope to pay a visit to the Holy Land at the earliest possibility. He’ll be a welcome guest in the Holy Land, as a man of inspiration that can add to the attempt to bring peace in a stormy area. All people here, without exception, without difference of religion or nationality will welcome the newly elected Pope.”
Addressing relations with the Vatican President Peres said, “The relations between the Vatican and the Jewish people are now at their best in the last 2000 years and I hope they will grow in content and depths.”
President Peres also spoke about the outgoing Pope and said, “I have much respect for the resigned Pope, Benedict, I found him a dear friend of our people, a profound thinker and he really contributed so much to bringing together, historically and otherwise, the relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. I’m sure that the new Pope, Francis, will continue. He will remind all of us , as a shepherd of our time, that the Lord loves the poor not only the mighty, that the Lord calls us to peace not for hatred, that the Lord calls us to serve each other, to build a world where people are together without hatred.”
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres was in France yesterday (Sunday, March 10th 2013), conducting a special meeting with the heads of the Jewish community of France and with a delegation of Imams including the heads of the Egyptian, African, Moroccan and Senegalese communities and heads of central mosques. The meeting took place the day before memorial events in France to mark one year since the terrorist attacks in Toulouse.
During the meeting with the Imams, President Peres was pleased by their support for Israel, their moderate approach and tolerance towards other faith communities and their vocal, steadfast opposition to terror in all its forms. At the start of the meeting Imam Chalghoumi talked about the memorial events one year after the terrorist attacks in France (March 11th and March 15th) and said: “Tomorrow, March 11th, is a terrible day of mourning for us, a day on which terror struck from which we all suffered. I wanted to tell you, Mr. President, that we Muslims are victims like the Jews, of the same extremist who went on a journey of murder, who took the lives of children. We are here to say to our brothers the Jews and the French: We are all threatened by terror, hurt by terror and we all call with optimism for peace at the end of this terrible year. We teach the believers that human life is holier than the holy sites! Holier than Mecca, the Vatican or Jerusalem.”
President Peres thanked the Imam for his words and expressed his appreciation. “Whoever was responsible for the murder of French citizens and Jewish children in Toulouse showed the ugly face of terror, and your words show the way of peace. You are leaders of an Islam which seeks peace, as we do. I am very grateful for your words, and I thank you for coming. I see in you brothers in this path, dialogue between us is important and valuable and that is why this meeting between us is so important. We will work together, for all the peoples of the world, for Israeli’s and Palestinians, for peace in the world.”
Imam Chalghoumi addressed the issue of the approach of the Muslim community leadership towards the State of Israel and said that the delegation are interested in bridging the gap between faiths and peoples, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an excuse to hate the State of Israel – we are not interested in that hate and do not believe in it. We visited Israel and saw the country; we want to know Israel as it really is and to get to know people from different perspectives.”
During President Peres’s visit with the Jewish community the leaders of the community in France, including the leadership of the community in Toulouse, updated President Peres on manner in which they have been coping since the murders a year ago. They asked to hear from President Peres about ways in which the peace process with the Palestinians could be re-started, the latest developments with regards to Iran and the general situation in the Middle East in light of the Arab Spring. President Peres and the community leadership also discussed incidents of anti-Semitism in France.
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, this morning (Thursday, 21 February 2013), delivered the main speech at the state memorial ceremony for Joseph Trumpeldor, 93 years after his death. President Peres used his speech to call upon the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of proscribed terror organizations in light of its involvement in the bombings in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Nigeria:”
A short distance from here a terrible tragedy is unfolding. In Syria, the president is shooting his own people, the children of his country. On our border, in Lebanon, Nasrallah, wrapped in a cloak of religiosity, is pushing Lebanon into a bloody war. It is time to call Hezbollah what it really is – a murderous terror organization. The United States of America and other countries have already included Hezbollah in its list of terrorist organizations. Now, after it has been proved that Hezbollah was behind the terror attack in Bulgaria, on European soil, and murdered innocent civilians, and as reports increase of its involvement, along with Iran, in attacks in Cyprus and Nigeria, the time has come for every country in the world, and especially the European Union, to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations.”
President Peres continued and said, “The sword of Hezbollah threatens the peace of Lebanon more than the security of Israel. Nasrallah, through his actions, stains all of Lebanon. Lebanon must decide which way she faces – to fire or to peace. In fire they will carry the burden of the fire they ignite, in peace Lebanon can return to herself as a multicultural country. We extend our hand in peace to the country of the cedar trees and regret that Nasrallah seeks the opposite, fire in the trees of Lebanon.”Addressing the wider Middle East President Peres said, “In countries across the Middle East there are great storms, in Iraq, Yemen, Libya there are civil conflicts raging and in other countries violence is increasing. These situations have nothing to do with Israel – these are fires ignited from within. Israel has always sought peace, a country seeking to put out the flames. We are saddened by the suffering of millions of innocent people, they are the victims, the refugees, the homeless and hungry, we are willing to extend our hand in humanitarian support if called upon.
We must also remain vigilant of the flow of weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Weapons from Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”
(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)
Israel strongly condemns North Korea’s nuclear test, and joins the international community in expressing the grave danger that this act poses to regional stability and international peace and security.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear test, together with its ballistic missile launch in December 2012, is part of its extensive ongoing nuclear and missile programs. These reflect North Korea’s negative role in the region and raise grave concerns regarding proliferation of nuclear and ballistic technologies.
These actions by the DPRK, in violation of its international obligations, must be met with a swift response by the international community. A clear message must be sent to the DPRK and to other countries, that such activities are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.
PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Investigation into the Terrorist Bombing in Wake of the Bulgarian Government Announcement
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, February 5th, 2013), issued the following statement in wake of the Bulgarian government’s announcement regarding the 18 July 2012 terrorist bombing in Burgas:
“I would like to thank the Bulgarian Government for its thorough and professional investigation of the 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas in which six innocent civilians – five Israelis and one Bulgarian – were murdered.
The Bulgarian findings announced today are clear: Hezbollah was directly responsible for the atrocity. There is only one Hezbollah. It is one organization with one leadership.
This is yet a further corroboration of what we have already known, that Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons are orchestrating a worldwide campaign of terror that is spanning countries and continents.
The attack in Burgas was only one of a series of recent terrorist operations against civilians in Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, India, Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia. All this is happening in parallel to the deadly support given by Hezbollah and Iran to the murderous Assad regime in Syria.
The attack in Burgas was an attack on European soil against a member country of the EU. We hope that the Europeans draw the necessary conclusions as to the true character of Hezbollah.”