The assumption that in these circumstances Israel can achieve peace with the Palestinians through negotiations with the head of the Palestinian Authority, while Hamas is constantly undermining him, seems almost impossible.

President Rivlin addresses 'BeSheva' media group conference


Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Monday 8 February 2016) addressed the opening session of the 13th annual Jerusalem Conference of the ‘BeSheva’ media group.

In his address, President Rivlin stated, "The difficult days, the bloody events, including this tense and challenging period, at times distract us and cause us to forget the fundamental fact, that we are sons and daughters of the generation who lived in one of the most unique periods in our nation’s history. Many generations dreamed, for thousands of years, to return to Israel but it was our generation who was blessed and became the generation of the renewal. We have been fortunate enough to be part of the revival of statehood for the Jewish people – the State of Israel. The existential challenges of this generation have been many and difficult. Even if not in every generation are there those who stand against us, there is no doubt that our generation has had to defend its life countless times."

The President went on to say, "The return to the land of our forefathers and the establishment of the State of Israel are not accepted favorably by our enemies – this is not a new phenomenon. One who looks realistically and clearly at the significance of the return to Zion, will understand as Jabotinsky did in 1922 when he wrote his ‘Iron Wall’ speech, that the Arabs will not accept our national existence here. There were times that staunch followers of Jabotinsky thought that we had arrived at the moment which Jabotinsky described, and that because of the establishment of an ‘iron wall’, and the desperate attempts to attack us, that the Arabs will tire, as he said, and will accept our existence. But it seems to me that the ‘Arab Spring’ put an end to that illusion. The anger in the Arab world, the tidal wave of the Islamic State across the region – including within Israel’s borders – along with the removal of the sanctions against Iran which threatens to attack Israel, destroyed the chances in the current reality of widening the circle of peace.”

The President stressed, “The assumption that in these circumstances Israel can achieve peace with the Palestinians through negotiations with the head of the Palestinian Authority, while Hamas is constantly undermining him, seems almost impossible. Not forever will we live by the sword, but forever we will have to live with the sword, and we must be ready and willing to protect the Zionist enterprise and the Land of Israel.”

The President spoke of the current security situation, and said, “Terror is a tactic, a tactic of fear, of threats, and of murder. The root of terrorism is theterrible hatred our enemies have for us. A hostility that is the result of among other things the vitriolic incitement that also exists within the Palestinian Authority. A hostility that recruits hatred, children aged 13 and 15. A hostility that targets the Jewish people, but makes no distinction between an Israeli who is Jewish and one who is not, between a civilian or a soldier, between a girl and an elderly man or pregnant woman. Of course we must bring an end to the terrorism, but we must not forget the hostility which is very difficult to end. Only ending this can bring an end to that.”

The President made clear that all the security forces were working day and night to combat terror, and said, “I know that the commanders and soldiers of the IDF, the Minister of Defense, and all the security services tirelessly analyze each scenario, and their perceptions are not set or not fixed. The IDF is not limited, its hands are not tied, and it is determined to win the battle. The IDF is an army that learns, that draws conclusions, a military which investigates, and develops new methods, and constantly examines its positions.  The IDF and the security services are not afraid of having their positions challenged, nor of thorough public debate, nor of criticism from a range of opinions.”

The President added, “The current struggle is not a struggle of the settlements alone, nor just of the Right, nor even of the Israeli government alone. There is no ‘them and us’. It is all of our struggle – this is an ongoing struggle of the State of Israel. We are fighting for our independence as a people, for our moral rights in the land of our forefathers, and we cannot let our guard down in the face of those who attack us.”