PM Netanyahu Meets with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Monday), 2.4.12, in his Jerusalem office, met with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is visiting Israel with his family. Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Gov. Christie to Israel and said, “You know there are so many similarities between New Jersey and Israel. We’re roughly the same size. We’re roughly the same population. I know your voters have better neighbors. Other than that, there are several similarities and I look forward to discussing how we can increase the cooperation.” Gov. Christie told Prime Minister Netanyahu, “This is my first visit abroad as Governor and there was never any question of where we would come first, so I’m glad we did.”
In response to Nicholas Kristof’s piece in the New York Times, we would like to stress that Israel is not interested in war. It never was and it never will be. It is, however, the obligation of any government to reserve the right to defend its citizens at any and all cost. Raise your hand if you want to live in a world that consists of a nuclear Middle East.
Raise your hand if you think the world will be safer with a state sponsor of terror being able to choose overnight whether to hand out nuclear bombs. Raise your hand if you think the West should return to a “Cold War” mentality and fear of nuclear war breaking out at a moment’s notice. Now, raise your hand if you think the world needs to do all it can to prevent this from happening.
Saying “all options must remain on the table” doesn’t mean force is your first option, but a realistic understanding that your last resort needs to be available under a worst case scenario. Israel, the United States and the international community must do everything in order to prevent this scenario from becoming a reality – a reality that begins with Iran going nuclear.
Israel has no desire to enter into armed conflict. But it is the obligation of any responsible government, and especially the international community, to prevent the annihilation of sovereign countries. As long as every tool remains a viable, publicly stated option, Iran will understand that it has no choice but to abandon their nuclear program. But if we continue to ignore Iran’s actions and motives, and instead focuses on Israel’s possible options, we only march one step closer to a nuclear Middle East. Not every call for action is a call to arms, but continued inaction is a path to catastrophe. Today, we can decide how tomorrow should look. Tomorrow, we might not have that luxury.
Response to UNHRC decision to establish a commission on settlements
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
The resolution by the Human Rights Council to establish a “Fact Finding Mission on the Influence of Settlements on Palestinians” is yet another surreal decision from the workshop of a Council that is instrumentalized as a tool to push for one-sided politicized moves instead of promoting human rights.
While all over the Middle East human rights are violated in an unprecedented scale, the HRC ridicules itself by dedicating its time and resources to establish a superfluous and extravagant body whose sole purpose is to satisfy the Palestinians’ whims and to harm future chances to reach an agreement through peaceful means. The Palestinians must understand that they can’t have it both ways: they can’t enjoy cooperation with Israel and at the same time initiate political clashes in international fora.
Turning to international bodies is a breach of concluded Israeli Palestinian agreements. Had the Palestinians wanted to solve the settlements issue, they would resume without delay direct and unconditional negotiations on all core issues within the framework of a comprehensive agreement. Their deliberate choice to foster confrontation and provocation rather than compromise and reconciliation is nothing but a destructive strategy that the international community should firmly reject.
Said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Human Rights Council’s decision, “This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel. This council ought to be ashamed of itself. Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran. One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how detached from reality the council is. Another proof of its detachment from reality came last week when it invited before it a representative of Hamas, an organization whose ideology is based on the murder of innocents.”
Last week, at the 6th World Water Forum, Israel’s Minister of Energy and Water, MK Uzi Landau held an important inter-governmental session on wastewater management. Israel is the world leader in wastewater management, with up to 80 percent of waste being recycled, primarily used for agricultural purposes. Israel presented its findings and innovative technologies at the conference, challenging the 179 other countries in attendance to double their sewage treatment by 2025.
The World Water Forum is held every 3 years since 1997, its goal is to mobilize “creativity, innovation, competence and know-how in favour of water. It gathers all stakeholders around today’s local, regional and global issues that cannot be undertaken without all stakeholders into a common framework of goals and concrete targets to reach.”
Said Minister Landau ahead of the conference, “We will offer Israeli expertise toward improving the water markets of countries around the world, with the goal of opening more and more doors for Israeli companies to create relationships with foreign companies and implement international projects.”
In addition, Israel offered to help Gaza build a desalination plant in Gaza to provide freshwater for its residents. “Our expertise is available to all of our friends, including some of those who don’t accept us there, which is the Palestinians. We would like to see their projects going on” said Minister Landau.
“We have been waiting for such projects for many, many years. It is high time, almost 20 years after (the) Oslo (Accords on Palestinian autonomy), that they will start working and take responsibility for handling their own things, said Minister Landau.
Water security affects both Israelis and Palestinians equally, and Minister Landau noted that the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to tackle sewage problems. The PA lets it “pour down the riverbeds and to our areas on the coastal plains, where at the same time they are not only polluting the rivers but these waters infiltrate to the underground aquifer which is the body of drinking water both for them and for us,” said Landau.
The Gaza desalination plant is estimated to cost as much as $450 million USD. The Palestinian Authority believes that this plant, funded with international aid, would be able to provide fresh water to Palestinians in Gaza by 2020.
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
After the appalling murders in Toulouse, the Israeli Embassy in Paris, as well as the Israeli Consulate in Marseille, have contacted the bereaved families and learned of their desire to bring their loved ones to Israel for burial. The government of Israel has therefore decided to transfer the coffins to Israel as soon as possible, with the cooperation and assistance of Israel’s representatives in France and in coordination with the French authorities.
The names of the victims are: Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, Gabriel Sandler (age 4), Arieh Sandler (age 5), Miriam Monsonego (age 7).
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Yesterday, Israel’s leaders expressed their profound shock, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, saying that “Only a person possessed with demonic evil could carry out such a terrible murder of small children at a school.”
In a statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Today we had a savage crime in France that gunned down French Jews, among them children. It’s too early to say what the precise background for this act of murder is, but I think that we can’t rule out that there was a strong murderous anti-Semitic motive here. I’m sure that Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, and his government will do their utmost to find the killer and we, in Israel will do everything to help them in this task.”
As the week came to a close and families throughout Israel took their seats around the Sabbath table for songs and celebration, the all too familiar sound of terrorist rockets from Gaza rang through the air. Since Friday, one hundred missiles and rockets have been fired upon numerous southern Israeli population centers including Ashdod, Beer Sheva, and Ashkelon. Make no mistake, these attacks were not aimed at military targets or personnel, but sought the deliberate destruction of civilian centers, schools, and local government buildings.
In spite of the ongoing terror attacks on its citizenry, Israel has continued to emphasize that it does not seek an escalation in violence. However, Israel will not waver in its full commitment to defend it citizens. Israel will continue to act to prevent rocket and terror attacks and to undermine the terrorist infrastructure of Gaza.
Unlike the terrorist cells within Gaza, who operate within the heart of civilian activity, the Israeli Defense Forces act in a focused manner to strike at terrorists while eliminating collateral damage and reducing the possibility of civilian casualties. These efforts underscore that Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people or the citizens of Gaza, but only with the terrorist organizations who continue their pursuit of Israel’s destruction.
Hamas, the party chiefly responsible for these attacks, continues its attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers, send suicide bombers into Israeli cities, and fire rockets into the homes and communities of Israel’s south. Using its own citizens as human shields for attacks, Hamas time and again demonstrates their preference for Israel’s destruction over the health and well being of the Palestinian people. Rather than investing in the welfare of the people of Gaza, Hamas expends great resources on weapons collection and terrorism. Put simply, where infrastructure could be built, guns, rockets, and bloodshed are chosen in its place.
In contrast, despite Hamas’ determination for Israel’s destruction, Israel has continued to put forth every effort to protect its citizenry. Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome technology has intercepted close to thirty rockets directed at population centers and the government continues to invest extensive resources into homeland security. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “We will improve the home front defenses even more…by purchasing more Iron Dome systems, which proved themselves again this weekend.”
The United States State Department condemned the rocket fire on Southern Israel today, saying, “We are deeply concerned by the renewal of violence in Southern Israel. We condemn in the strongest terms the rocket fire from Gaza by terrorists into southern Israel in recent days, which has dramatically and dangerously escalated in the past day. We call on those responsible to take immediate action to stop these cowardly acts. We regret the loss of life and injuries, and we call on both sides to make every effort to restore calm.”
More than 135 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, and struck major population centers in southern Israel in the last 48 hours. More than 500,000 Israelis are forced to stay in bomb shelters and one million Israelis are sleeping tonight under the threat of rocket fire from Hamas.
Terrorists are firing Qassam rockets, Grad missiles and mortar shells into the cities of Ashdod, Be’ersheba, Yavne, Netivot and Ashkelon; as well as into the Eshkol Regional Council. Iron Dome has intercepted more than 20 rockets.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
Israel does not seek an escalation in the region. However, the the country is prepared to defend the residents of Israel and prevent terrorist attacks.
(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)
Israel extends its condolences to the government of the Republic of the Congo and to the bereaved families, and sends its wishes for recovery to those injured in the explosion that occurred in Brazzaville, in which over 200 people lost their lives and hundreds were wounded.
With the desire to contribute to the medical treatment of the wounded and hospitalized, Israel is sending today, through MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) and Israel’s embassy in South Africa, and in cooperation with Magen David Adom, South Africa, emergency medical equipment to assist in treating burn injuries. The humanitarian aid shipment will be delivered to the Brazzaville Red Cross.