Have You No Shame? (Part 3 of 3)
We at Citizen for Term Limits are grateful and honored that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has granted us permission to publish the full transcript of his excellent speech at the UN General Assembly, September 24, 2009.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report provides a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
We must know the answer to that question now. Now – not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.
And make no mistake about it. All of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein.
And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and my people, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace.
In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted this resolution. The Arabs rejected it and invaded the embryonic Jewish state with hopes to annihilate it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state! As simple, as clear, as elementary as that. Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people.
The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. It is the land of our forefathers. Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more.” These words were spoken by the great Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city – in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem. We are not strangers to this land. This is our homeland.
But as deeply connected as we are to our homeland, we also recognize that the Palestinians also live there and they want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, living in prosperity, living in dignity.
Peace, prosperity and dignity require one other element. We must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except a handful of powers that could endanger Israel.
This is why the Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. I say effectively, because we don’t want another Gaza, or another South Lebanon, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv. We want peace.
I believe that with goodwill and with hard work, such a peace can be achieved. But it requires from all of us to roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, that seek to eliminate Israel and to overthrow the world order. The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or to accommodate them.
Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind.” By that he meant the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep and to slumber until danger nearly overtakes them.
Churchill bemoaned what he called the “want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the “unteachability of mankind” is for once proven wrong. I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history—that we can prevent danger in time.
In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.
[Translation from the Hebrew]
“The Lord will give strength to His people, the Lord will bless His people with peace.”