YAIR LAPID, Prime Minister of Israel, recalling the “historic” Negev Summit which in March brought together representatives from the United States, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and his country, underscored that his nation has been able to prosper because it chose the future over the past, peace over war, and partnership over seclusion and isolation. He further noted that his country is a vibrant democracy, where Jews, Muslims and Christians live together in “full civic equality”.
He went on to stress that there are two major threats hanging over the head of his country, as well as of the world. The first is the nuclear threat, he continued, with the fear that “terrorist States and terrorist organizations will get their hands on the nuclear weapons”. The second threat is the demise of truth, where reckless politicians, totalitarian States and radical organizations are undermining the perception of reality. Raising an example of “fake news” about Israel, he asked the international community: “Why are you listening to people who have invested billions of dollars in distorting the truth?” He underscored that his country will not be silent against efforts to spread lies about it.
Pointing to Iran, he stressed that “there is only one Member State in the United Nations that openly states its wish to destroy another.” Noting that not only has the country “founded the largest terrorist organization, Hizbullah” while funding Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, he further noted that Iran is making efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon. He called on the international community to make clear to Tehran that the world will not respond with words but with military force if it does. “We will do whatever it takes. Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” he added.
To resolve the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, he stressed that an agreement with the Palestinians based on the two-State solution is the “right thing” for his country’s security, economy and its children, adding that many Israelis support this solution. “War is a surrender to all that is bad. Peace is the victory of all that is good,” he pointed out. He further noted that there is one condition for this solution, which is that the “future Palestinian State” needs to be a peaceful one and not become another terror base that threatens the well-being and the very existence of Israel.
Particularly in Gaza, he emphasized that his country did everything the world had asked it to do, such as dismantling its settlements and military bases, when it left the area 17 years ago. However, he continued, in less than a year Hamas came to power, replacing such facilities with terrorist training camps and rocket launch sites. “Since we left Gaza, over 20,000 rockets and missiles have been fired at Israel,” he highlighted. He stated that his country is ready to lift the restrictions placed on Gaza, on the condition that the firing of rockets and missiles are stopped. “The burden of proof is not on us,” he continued, adding that his country keeps its word and fulfils its promises, proven by peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, the Abraham Accords and the Negev Summit.