We will not negotiate or deal with a Palestinian Authority that will be dominated, wholly or partly, by a terrorist organization. We are also looking with great concern an Iranian leader who seems obsessed with anti-Semitic hatred for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
…There are two major problems that we face on these days. One which is certainly affecting the future chances for a meaningful peace process between us and the Palestinians, and this is the emerging of Hamas which is a terrorist organization, as the winner of the last elections for the Palestinian Parliament.
I know that everyone is excited because they actually won an absolute majority, although the absolute majority is in a number of representatives, not necessarily in the number of voters, but it makes no difference. And as far as we are concerned, the truth is that it wouldn’t have made any difference even had they not won an absolute majority but just 40 or 45 or 48 percent of the popular vote. Maybe had it not been an absolute majority, it would have misled someone to believe that we can still maneuver as if it makes a dramatic difference. It doesn’t.
Palestinian government under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, whom we’ll respect and support as the elected leader of the Palestinian people, will now have to make a serious choice about their priorities. Do they want to become part of the terrorist organization or do they want, even at this late stage, to take serious action in order to once and for all disarm the terrorist organization and force them to recognize the agreements signed with the State of Israel and change their covenant, so that they will understand that there can be only one basis for a future process between us and them? And this is the basis of mutual recognition of non-violence and of their recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state in peace and security in our homeland.
We are quite comfortable with the decision of the president of the United States of America and subsequently of the Quartet and many leading Western democracies to accept these three conditions as the basis for any future development. And I here, on behalf of the government of Israel, pledge to you that we will not negotiate and we will not deal with a Palestinian Authority that will be dominated, wholly or partly, by a terrorist organization. On the day that the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, will appoint a candidate from the Hamas to lead the Palestinian government, we will review all of our contacts with the Palestinian Authority. Because, once the government is dominated by a majority of Hamas people, it ceases to be the authority which it was. It becomes something entirely different. Something that Israel is not ready to compromise with nor is it ready to actualize it.
So these are very difficult days. Not for us, because our position is clear. The principles we have set forth are acceptable and we are going to stick to it and we will not succumb to any possible demands or requests that may come from any place and they don’t come by it. We are proud that even leaders of Arab countries, such as President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, have spelled out these same principles as their demand from Hamas following the elections.
I know that there are always fears. We are not happy with the statement made by Russia and the invitation to Hamas. We heard the explanations that they are going to influence the Hamas to accept these three principles that were set forth by the international community. I’m not certain that in order to make this demand, they need to be invited as honorable guests to any capital in Europe or any other place.
I am very comfortable with the statements, the assurances, and the commitments made by all other leaders, including President Chirac, who told me that these three principles are not negotiable. France will not agree under any circumstance to accept any change in these three basic demands from Hamas as a precondition for any legitimate participation of Hamas in a Palestinian government that wants to be recognized by the international community.
Now this, of course, can create some uncertainties, but as far as Israel is concerned, we are very confident. And I must say also very calm and relaxed. The policy is clear; our expectations for the Palestinian government are very accurate and exclusive. Chairman Abu Mazen knows that while we are prepared to deal with him in the same manner that we have started, we will not be able to continue the same pattern of relations if he will choose to surrender to the existence of a terrorist organization, rather than to act in order to disarm it and to change its nature.
So the choice is not ours, it’s theirs. And they will have to take that decision and we will act with confidence. We will not rush to do anything that can upset the balance which has been created. We will continue to fight terror and make all the necessary arrangements and take all the necessary measures in order to stop the terrorist organizations from continuing terror against innocent Israeli citizens in any part of the country, north or south or center, as we were doing in the last few weeks quite successfully.
And if our expectations for a serious change that will lead the Palestinian organizations into a new posture, as far as Israel is concerned, will not materialize, then we will find the ways to continue to take care of Israeli interests in any possible way in coordination with the friends of the State of Israel in America and in Europe.
I know that we are facing elections in Israel and I’m sure that you are also curious, almost as much as I am, almost, to know what the outcome of these elections will be. I don’t know to say at this point, but we will do everything in our power to make sure that this policy and these principles will prevail in the future, which means that we will not close the door to any possible development that will keep the political horizons promising for the people of Israel and for the Palestinian people for a major breakthrough in the near future.
But we will not compromise on those fundamental principles that are essential for the existence and the wellbeing of the State of Israel and we will continue to fight terror and we will not recognize, not compromise, not talk and not deal with Hamas, which is a terrorist organization.
I wish that this was the only major problem that we have to do in Israel. But it is not. We are also looking with great concern and watching with natural curiosity at this new phenomenon of an Iranian leader who seems to be obsessed with anti-Semitic hatred for the Jewish people and the State of Israel as is the new president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I don’t remember that there was any leader of a major country in the last two years who had this type of aggression and of hatred as the new president of Iran – talking about wiping Israel or moving the Jewish people from Israel into no other place than Germany, and using the worst anti-Semitic expressions that he could find in the dictionary of anti-Semitism.
Had he said only this, had he done only this, it would have been very bad, because unfortunately, we have a certain history and we know sometimes that, when leaders speak openly and publicly on their desire to liquidate the State of Israel and the Jewish people, they sometimes also try to do. This in itself, is a very bad sign which should have called the alertness and the worries of the entire international community, which I have to say responded with total disgust to these statements. But on this particular case, no one can ignore the fact that this is the same leader of the same country which at the same time while he’s talking about the liquidation of the State of Israel, he is also fighting against the whole world almost, in order to possess non-conventional capabilities that are aimed against the State of Israel.
I’m afraid not only against the State of Israel, but we have a good reason to think that Israel can be a priority target considering what he says and what he thinks and what he feels, about our country. In recent weeks, the international community led by America and the three European countries, Great Britain, Germany, and France decided to refer this issue of the Iranian nuclear, potential nuclear capabilities, for a report to the Security Council of the United Nations. This is a first step in a long way. There has to lead, ought to lead and soon, to a complete control of those who are capable of doing over any such future attempts by the Iranians to continue their enrichment of uranium that might create a non-conventional capabilities for Iran.
I say its a long way, because from this stage today, there must be a very concrete joint action by the international community that will stop the Iranians from continuing their efforts to possess nuclear weapons. There are many different ways to do it. It rests with the international community. I am asked many times by many concerned people, what are you going to do at the country which might be the focus of these efforts and my answer is that Israel is not the only country which has to be worried and concerned. Every civilized country, America as well as Europe, shares the same concern and therefore are obliged to work together in order to stop them. And we will work together with our allies and friends and supporters, because this is not the exclusive responsibility or concern of the State of Israel. It never was, it never will be. It will be ours, all of us.
There are many things that can be done. I will not go into the details. But one thing must be clear. This has to stop. And leaders such as Ahmadinejad can’t be allowed to use this language, to practice these policies, to threaten other countries the way they do, and to practice the spirit of hatred and anti-Semitism as the present leader of the Iranians do. And I trust that the outcome of the deliberations and consultations of the Security Council will lead to a joint action by many countries that will end up with a clear and powerful action to stop the Iranians….