Sunday, July 11, 2010

PM Netanyahu's remarks at the start of today's Cabinet meeting

Shalom, everyone.
These are Bibi's remarks about his visit to the U.S., also known as Prison Nation

11 Jul 2010
PM Netanyahu reported to the Cabinet on his visit to the United States.

Israel Cabinet meeting (Reuters archive photo)
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks at the start of
the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 11 July 2010:

"Last week I held a series of meetings in New York and Washington, first of
all with US President Barack Obama. I also met with senior American
administration officials, media figures and Jewish community leaders.

The alliance between Israel and the US is stable and strong. It has the
support of the American administration and people. My visit to the US last
week gave tangible expression to strength and durability of this unbreakable
bond. In my meeting with the US President, we had a comprehensive and
excellent discussion in which we covered a broad range of issues.

The first issue that came up was advancing the peace process between us and
the Palestinian Authority. I reiterated to the President Israel's desire to
proceed immediately to direct negotiations with the PA, with the goal being
to advance the diplomatic process and try to reach a peace agreement. The
condition for achieving this agreement is scrupulously maintaining the
security of the country and its citizens. I gained the impression that the
American side as well there is the recognition that we must proceed to
direct talks in order to advance the peace process. I gained the impression
that the President is also attentive to the State of Israel's special
security needs. On these issues we are working in concert. We hope that the
PA will accede to the call to begin direct talks at soon as possible.

The second issue that arose in my conversation with President Obama was the
danger of Iran achieving nuclear weapons and thereby threatening not only
Israel, the Middle East and the peace therein but the entire world as well.
I very much appreciate the Us President's statement that he is determined to
prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons. I expressed my appreciation
that he brought a decision on sanctions to the UN Security Council and that
he signed into law aggressive US sanctions several days ago. I expressed
both my hope that other countries will join in these aggressive sanctions
and my assessment that if Iran indeed achieves nuclear weapons, there will
be no effective containment policy against it. Therefore, everything must be
done so that Iran does not achieve nuclear weapons.

The third issue that arose in our talks was the nuclear disarmament
conference. President Obama and the White House reiterated the American
commitment to important strategic understandings with the State of Israel in
this area. The President made it clear that American policy on these
strategic issues has not changed and that the US understands - as the
President put it - that due to the size of the threats against it and given
our history, the State of Israel is in a special situation.

The fourth issue that came up in our conversation was Gilad Shalit. I asked
the President to use his full strength and influence to help us in achieving
Gilad's release after four years of captivity, in which he was been denied
any Red Cross visits - another war crime being perpetrated by Hamas.
Immediately upon my return to Israel, my wife and I met with Aviva and Noam
Shalit. I updated them on my talks on Gilad's release and the efforts to
bring this about.

These and other issues also came up in my meeting with US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. I also spoke with
them about the diplomatic process and Israel's security needs, and our plans
to strengthen ourselves in the face of the possible plans of others in the

I also met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and, as I have said, with
senior figures in the American media, including the editors of The New York
Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, as well as other
networks and analysts. I also participated in a very warm meeting organized
by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

In all of my meetings, I found understanding and support for Israel as a
whole, understanding that Israel must be supported at this special time
against the attacks - including physical and political - that we have
withstood in recent months. I found broad support for our decision to lift
the civilian blockade on Gaza while strictly maintaining the security
blockade, and the understanding that we are doing what must be done in order
to prevent the entry into Gaza of weapons, missiles and rockets, out of
concern for the security of Israel's citizens.

On Tuesday, I will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. This
will be our fifth meeting in one year. I hope to work with him in advancing
the direct talks with the Palestinian Authority."

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