President Katsav hosted the diplomatic corps at a reception on the occasion of Israel’s 58th Independence Day.

Address by President Moshe Katsav
at the Reception for  the Diplomatic Corps
on the occasion of Israel’s 58th Yom Haatzmaut
3 May 2006

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, Acting Speaker of the Knesset Shimon Peres, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassadors, Heads of Churches, Distinguished Guests:

I am pleased to host you on the occasion of the 58th Independence Day of the State of Israel and to thank you for your friendly relations and cooperation. 

I wish to thank your countries for their contribution and efforts to improve and promote the relations between Israel and your states. The close relations between Israel and your countries express the common values, the universal values, the human values and the democratic values. Our good relations show the interest of your countries in our region, in our common aim for peace in the Middle East and bringing peace stability to the world.

We in Israel are proud of our many achievements during the 58 years of our existence. Despite the many wars and terrorism, we have succeeded in building a modern and developed country and we have achieved many achievements in many fields.

We are proud that our country absorbed millions of immigrants, most of them from Muslim countries and from the former Soviet Union and provided all of them with houses, welfare, education and health services. We face many challenges. We will succeed and we will overcome.

We expect the cooperation of your countries in solving the real problems of humanity, such as poverty, difficult diseases and natural disasters and in giving humanity the right to live without fear of terror.

In the past year there have been changes in the State of Israel and the region. I want to assure you that Israeli society will know how to decide in a democratic way on the issues of its existence, such as the borders of the country. The aim of the people of Israel is to achieve real and permanent peace. We have proved this in the past since 1993. At the same time, we will continue our fight for protection and security.

Israel does not want to punish and does not seek revenge. It fights to prevent terrorism. In the past years more Israelis have been killed by Palestinian terrorism than during the first 50 years of independence.

The State of Israel is a historical fact.  Israel has stated its support to establish a Palestinian state but the new Palestinian government, which has been elected, refuses to recognize the right of existence of the State of Israel. It supports terrorism and refuses to respect the international commitments given by the official Palestinian leaders.

The elections among the Palestinians were in violation of the Oslo Agreements. The elections were won by an organization, which was declared by the international community to be a terrorist organization, an organization, which cooperates with international terrorist organizations. Elections in which terrorist organizations participate can never be democratic elections.

We want to believe that the policy of the Hamas Government is not that of the Palestinians. I believe and I hope that most Palestinians support making peace with Israel and accept the conditions of the Quartet. The conditions of the Quartet are not against the interests of the Palestinians and they are important for the political process. The conditions of the Quartet are, in fact, the commitments given by the elected Palestinian leaders in the past, such as Arafat and Abu Mazen.

In the State of Israel there is consensus from the right and the left on the conditions of the Quartet. I call on the Palestinian leaders to respect the conditions of the Quartet in order to renew the political process.

In our time the danger for the peace in the world is greater than during the Cold War between the two super powers, if a totalitarian country, which helps international terrorist organizations, obtains nuclear weapons.

The combination of three elements is a great danger:  totalitarianism, cooperation with terrorist organizations and nuclear weapons. It will be a different world, it will be a great danger for peace in the world, it will be a danger for moderate Arab countries and the threat of international terrorism will increase.

Unfortunately, the constructive elements in Islam are not succeeding in stopping the extremism and radicalism. International terror is taking advantage of democratic values, globalization, human morality and modern technology. We have seen in the past how non-democratic organizations took advantage of democracy for negative purposes, for anti-democratic goals.

Distinguished guests:

I thank you for your friendship towards the State of Israel and for your contribution to the relations between your countries and Israel.

On the Independence Day of the State of Israel, I wish to express my appreciation and thanks to the leaders of your countries and to your peoples and I believe that together we can create a better and more secure future for the young generation and the future generations.

Hag sameah.