Browsing Posts in Iran

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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.

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

 

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.”

The agreement between Argentina and Iran is received in Israel with astonishment and provoked deep disappointment. The Argentinian ambassador in Israel will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to provide explanations for this, his government’s latest move. Israel’s Ambassador in Buenos Aires, Ms. Dorit Shavit, will request a meeting with the Argentinian Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, in order to clarify the motivations for this move.

As soon as contacts between Argentina and Iran had begun, we have asked to be updated on the discussions, but we received no response from the Argentinean authorities.

Israel is clearly and understandably concerned by the matter. The 1994 bombing targeted the AMIA Jewish Community Center, and caused 85 dead and hundreds of wounded, Jews and non-Jews alike. Though the attack took place on Argentinean soil and was aimed at Argentinean citizens, the findings of the ensuing investigation by Argentinean authorities has brought up a clear resemblance with the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which occurred two years earlier. The proven relation between the two attacks grants us the natural right to follow the investigations and to expect the perpetrators and their sponsors to be brought to justice, particularly in times when to suffer from the Iranian terror plague around the world.

The Argentinean authorities have pointed at Iran as the sponsor of the attack, and took the necessary steps with Interpol in accordance with their findings. In 2006, Argentine prosecutors formally accused the government of Iran of carrying out the attack and a judge issued arrest warrants for seven senior Iranian officials, including Ahmad Vahidi, who is now Iran’s Minister of Defense. In 1994, Vahidi was the head of Iran’s Quds force, and is wanted by Interpol for the bombing.

Now, this recent agreement raises severe questions: it establishes a committee whose recommendations are non-mandatory, and it provides the country which all the evidence points at, namely Iran, with the capacity to delay indefinitely the committee’s works. It is doubtful whether this is how justice will be rendered.

The Ambassador of Argentina in Israel was summoned today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem for a clarification talk.  The MFA’s Deputy Director-General for Latin America, Ambassador Itzhak Shoham, conveyed Israel’s astonishment and disappointment at the Argentinean government’s decision to collaborate with Iran after the latter’s responsibility for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center was exposed by the investigation conducted by the Argentinean authorities themselves.

Amb. Shoham protested the unacceptable attitude of the Argentinean government towards Israel since the beginning of contacts between Buenos Aires and Tehran.

Although a deadly attack destroyed the Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires two years prior to the AMIA bombing  (killing 29 persons , including four Israeli diplomats  and wounding 250)  and although the findings of the Argentinean investigations have pointed to the great resemblance between the attacks and the involvement of Iran and Hizbullah in both, Argentina has not responded to Israel’s legitimate requests to be informed of its new diplomatic moves with Iran,  nor of the way in which Argentina envisages bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Argentina’s approach is particularly disappointing given the intimate relationship to which Israel is accustomed with Argentina, a very friendly country, Shoham stated.

Amb. Shoham added, “A lack of resolve in dealing with terrorism sends a message of weakness. Had Argentina dealt resolutely with the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy, the 1994 AMIA bombing might not have happened.”

Yesterday, January 24th, President Shimon Peres spoke at the central plenary of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

 

The President of the Stathttp://www.mfa.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/3F265210-04BC-4C55-A9E2-C29E1796AB20/0/presperesdavos2013pg.jpge of Israel, President Shimon Peres, began his visit at the World Economic Forum in Davos and spoke at a special plenary dedicated to the Middle East in light of the changes and challenges facing the region. At the start of his remarks President Peres commented on the fact that he would be unable to provide headlines on the recent elections in Israel and said: We welcome the elections in Israel. At the moment we cannot guess which way the new government will face and who will be in it, we must wait patiently until Wednesday when the official results will be published. Afterwards, according to the law I will call consult with all the elected groups in the Knesset. Until then I won’t be able to comment further on the matter.”

President Peres spoke in detail about the Arab spring in Egypt, the situation in Syria and the changes in the Middle East; “Today it is almost impossible to be a dictator in the Middle East. The central problem for the people of Egypt today is poverty, unemployment and that is a problem for many in the Middle East. The young generation wants education, employment and a decent salary. Israel respects the results of the elections in Egypt and the elected president. We hope that Egypt will succeed in overcoming its economic difficulties and achieve economic prosperity.”

With respect to the Iranian threat President Peres said, “Iran wants to rule over the Middle East, and no country wants that to happen. Iran is a center of terror, it distributes weapons and terror across the world. Iran is not exclusively an Israeli problem but a problem for the entire world.” President Peres addressed the coalition against Iran under the leadership of the United States of America and said, “I am confident that President Obama’s policies with regards to Iran are correct. President Obama is leading a serious, responsible and just coalition against Iran – the Iranian nation is feeling the impact of economic sanctions.”

President Peres also addressed the ongoing bloodshed in Syria and said, “Syria is suffering from terrible bloodshed with many refugees suffering as a result. I believe that Assad is running out of options and it is a matter of time until Assad’s reign will end. I also believe that the Arab League can bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria, if the member countries work together and will enter with a special military force, with a UN Mandate that will be responsible for maintaining peace and ending the bloodshed. The issue is urgent as innocent people are being killed every day.”

Before closing the plenary session, Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and Chairperson of the World Economic Forum, asked President Peres what his vision for the coming decade and the next generation is as someone who will be celebrating his 90th birthday this year. President Peres responded and said, “I’ll tell you a personal story – as a child I loved telescopes and I would speak to my girlfriend about love and the stars, today I prefer microscopes and to discover the tiny and the hidden that has yet to be uncovered. I believe that in the next decade the world will be completely different, full of possibilities and with many more opportunities and scientific discoveries. The coming decade will focus on the nano, in scientific developments, and that will be the source of future innovations more than space and the stars. It is better for us all to offer hope rather than create despair. Let me tell you a secret: optimists and pessimists die the same way, but they live differently and from my life experience I can tell you that it’s better to live as an optimist.”

Prior to the plenary session President Peres conducted diplomatic meetings with the president of Azerbaijan and the president of Georgia. During both meetings the president’s discussed the Middle East and increasing the strategic cooperation between Israel and each of the countries. President Peres will conduct further meetings during the conference with including with the Chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers; Co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter, Perry Chen; Chairman and CEO of the private equity group Blackstone Stephen Schwarzman and others.

In addition to the tragic loss of 5 Israeli citizens, we also remember Mustafa Kyosov, a Bulgarian citizen who was also killed in yesterday’s attack. He was 36. May their memories be blessed.

Kochava Shriki, 42, from Rishon Letzion

Amir Menashe, 28, from Petah Tikva

Itzik Kolangi, 28, from Petah Tikva

Maor Harush, 24, from Acre

Elior Price, 25, from Acre

Remarks as prepared from Israeli President Shimon Peres at the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

As The President of the State of Israel I came here first and foremost to say on behalf of my people: Toda. Thank You.

Thank you President Obama, for being such a good friend. Thank you AIPAC, for your dedication and excellence. It is great to be here. To be together. Strong and united. I see old friends and new ones. I see many young faces. The future belongs to you. Israel loves you. I am moved by your generous tribute.

I stand here, before you, a hopeful man. Proud to be Jewish, proud to be Israeli, proud to be there at the birth of Israel, proud to have served it for 65 years, proud of our alliance with the United States. Israel, like America, was conceived as an idea. Born in defiance of history; creating a new world by drawing on the values of the past and the innovations of the future.

Friends, the restoration of Jewish statehood after two thousand years in exile – is a historic miracle. We started as a doubt and wound up as a certainty. We had to fight six wars in six decades. We did not lose one. We never will. We can not afford it. We had to defend ourselves. Self-defense is our right and obligation.

With little land, water or resources, Israel grew tenfold in population. Fifty-fold in gross domestic product. Israel’s high-tech and innovation enriches the world its agriculture makes deserts green. Israel built new villages, new cities, new universities, new theatres and cultural centers. Our children are speaking the language of the prophets. Hebrew literature is flourishing. From a dispersed people we became a united democracy. No day of war ever interrupted a day of Democracy.

Dear Friends,

Permit me a personal note. Fate placed me in the eye of the storm. I was eleven years old when my beloved grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Melzer, accompanied me to the train-station on my way to Israel. He hugged me and whispered in my ear only three words, “Shimon…stay Jewish.” Those were his last words to me. I never saw him again. In 1942, when the Nazis arrived to his village, they forced my Grandfather, together with the remaining Jews into the wooden synagogue and set it on fire. No one survived. Not one. What remained was my Grandfather’s legacy, His last words to me “Stay Jewish.”

Dear Friends,

I was privileged to work with the father of our nation, my mentor, David Ben-Gurion. For me, Ben Gurion’s great leadership with my Grandfather’s legacy became my compass. That compass is comprised of four core values: Our moral code. Our pursuit of peace and security. Our quest for knowledge. Our alliance with America.

The moral code, the return to the Book and its values, enabled the Jewish people to survive, for four thousand years. Not because of quantity – Because of quality. Not due to thousands of guns – but due to Ten Commandments. We are guided by the call of our Prophets, to me it means: To be just. To do justice. To never deny justice to others.

Dear Friends,

The pursuit of peace, for us, is not a passing opportunity it is a moral imperative. It is the tenet of our national security. To make peace, Israel must be strong. Let me assure you, Israel is strong.

Dear Friends,

The Middle East is undergoing its greatest storm. With horrible bloodshed in Syria, where a tyrant is killing his people, killing children. I admire the courage of the Syrian people. We wish them peace and freedom. In spite of the storm, we have to reach out to the young generation in the Arab world, to those who strive for freedom, democracy and peace. The Palestinians are our neighbors for life. Peace can and must be achieved. A peace based on a Two State Solution: A Jewish state – Israel, An Arab state – Palestine.

It was accepted by past and present Israeli Prime ministers and American presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The principle of “The Two State” solution is a paramount Israeli interest. We want to preserve an Israel that is Jewish, democratic and attractive. I meet from time to time with President Abbas and PM Fayyad. They need and want peace.

I believe that peace is possible. They are our partners for peace. Not Hamas. A peace that is a dream for both of us, is a nightmare for the Ayatollahs in Iran. Iran is an evil, cruel, morally corrupt regime. It is based on destruction. and is an affront to human dignity. Iran is the center. The sponsor. The financer of world terror. Iran is a danger to the entire world. It threatens Berlin as well as Madrid, Delhi as well as Bangkok. Not just Israel. Iran’s ambition is to control the Middle East, so it can control a major part of the world’s economy. It must be stopped. And it will be stopped. Israel experienced the horrors of war. It does not seek it. Peace is always our first option. But, if we are forced to fight, trust me, we shall prevail. President Obama is leading and implementing, an international complex and decisive policy, imposing economic and political sanctions against Iran. President Obama made it clear that the US will not permit Iran to become nuclear. That containment is not a sustainable policy, all options are on the table.

The United States and Israel share the same goal – to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. There is no space between us. Our message is clear: Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon. Ladies and Gentlemen, The quest for knowledge defines Jewish history. Judaism is a constant debate. It is about asking the right questions. It is about being a liberal and pluralistic society. I believe, Jews are never satisfied because they are always seeking new answers. A better tomorrow, Tikun Olam. I believe that the next decade will be the most scientific, the most dramatic chapter in human history. It will expose possibilities that today sound like science fiction. Its center will be brain research. The more we shall know about ourselves, the more we shall be able to control ourselves. In a global world without a global government self-control is vital. Friends, In a world of science and knowledge the Jewish people and Israel have an exciting role to play. Much to contribute. Ladies and Gentlemen, members of Congress, America was, is, and will remain the indispensable leader of the free world. The indispensable friend of our people. Today more than ever, the world needs America. I have had the privilege to meet all American Presidents in the last fifty years, Democrats and Republicans. I was strongly impressed by their deep commitment. Their care for Israel. That commitment was and is bipartisan. Mr. President, members of the Administration, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, we are forever grateful for your unwavering support of the unbreakable alliance between the US and Israel. I first met President Barack Obama, our great friend, when he was a Senator from Illinois. I saw before me a born leader. His care and devotion to Israel’s security were evident. Mr. President, I know your commitment to Israel is deep and profound. Under your leadership, security cooperation between the US and Israel has reached its highest level.

Ladies and Gentlemen, We have a friend in the White House. He reflects the values that make America great and make Israel secure. Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people. Soon I will return home. Great challenges and promising opportunities await us. Thanks to your love and commitment and America’s great friendship. I return home, much more hopeful much more encouraged. Thank you very much, God Bless America. God Bless Israel. Shalom.

”The IAEA report corroborates the position of the international community, and of Israel, that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The significance of the report is that the international community must bring about the cessation of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons which endanger the peace of the world and of the Middle East.”

First appeared in the March 29th edition of The Wall Street Journal

“Gadhafi unilaterally forfeited his nuclear weapons program by 2004, turning over uranium-enriching centrifuges and warhead designs. A dictator like him—capable of ordering the murders of 259 civilians aboard Pan Am Flight 103 and countless others in many countries including his own—would not easily concede the ultimate weapon. Gadhafi did so because he believed he was less secure with the bomb than he would be after relinquishing it. He feared that the U.S., which had recently invaded Iraq, would deal with him much as it had Saddam Hussein.

A similar fear, many intelligence experts in the U.S. and elsewhere believe, impelled the Iranian regime to suspend its own nuclear weapons program in 2003. According to these analysts, the program resumed only when the threat of military intervention receded. It continues to make steady progress today.

Now is the moment to dissuade the Iranian regime from obtaining a nuclear weapon that might deter any Libya-like intervention or provide the ayatollahs with a doomsday option. If Gadhafi had not surrendered his centrifuges in 2004 and he were now surrounded in his bunker with nothing left but a button, would he push it?”

To read the complete Op-Ed, click here.

List of Weaponry Found on the “Victoria”

Pictured here: A C-704 anti-ship missile found on the ship

Below is preliminary list of weaponry and weaponry systems discovered and unloaded this morning at the Ashdod Port hidden in the cargo of the “Victoria” vessel.

  • 230 mortar shells, 120 mm
  • 2,270 mortar shells, 60 mm
  • 6 C-704 anti-ship missiles
  • 2 radar systems manufactured in England
  • 2 launchers
  • 2 hydraulic mounting cranes for radar system
  • 66,960  bullets for the Kalashnikov, 7.62 millimeter

It is important to note that the C-704 shore-to-sea missiles have a range of 35 kilometers and according to assessments, their intended destination to the Gaza Strip would have constituted a significant gain in the weapons capabilities of terror organizations operating there.