(INN).Cautioning of the uncertainties that lie ahead for Middle East peace, Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD), took the podium Sunday at the 2011 AIPAC annual policy conference.
Recognizing "the reality on the ground,” Hoyer said Israel's borders must be defensible. Chiding Fatah and Hamas for putting "faith in violence", he urged them to return to the negotiating table without preconditions.
The House Democratic whip spoke of the legacy of courage that has been the hallmark of the Jewish nation since time immemorial. Citing a Biblical passage from the book of Genesis, he said, "Just look at the journey of Abraham. He was told to 'get up, leave your country and your people, and G-d said 'go where I shall show you.’”
The Jewish nation, he said, "would never have happened" if Abraham stayed where things were safe.
Attributing Israel's doughtiness to their ability to weather all storms, Hoyer said, "The Arab Spring is a time of deep uncertainty, and Israel has never known the certainty of other nations. History never plays out as it does in history books and we are unsure of what the future holds. The U.S.-Israel friendship has endured wars, peace, differences, [and] disagreements, and Israel will continue to prevail".
He predicted that "regimes across the Middle East will be more attentive to the needs of their people and despots will be forced to give up power."
Focusing on the "shared ideals" of liberty, freedom and democracy held by Israel and America, Hoyer said that these principles “have given our nations life for over 200 years.”
Hoyer echoed the sentiments of other speakers regarding the security of Israel and the Iranian nuclear threat that looms large.
"Israel's security needs must be met by the United States" and a global effort must be made toward "stopping nuclear proliferation," he stressed. He reminded the assemblage to be cognizant of the "global implications of a nuclear armed Iran" as well and lauded the U.S. financing of the $200 million "Iron Dome" anti-missile system that would serve as a deterrent to an Iranian attack.
While underscoring the need for Israel to retain a qualitative military edge, he also called for the creation of a Palestinian state, saying, "there must be two states living in peace and security.”