Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ambassador Rice: America's permanent commitment to Israel's peace and security is not negotiable

"The Arab world is undergoing unprecedented political change, and the calls for freedom across the region have only heightened legitimate security concerns. But let there be no doubt: we are doing all we can to ensure that Israel remains secure even as the region becomes more free," U.N. Representative Rice told the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations during their annual National Service Award dedicated this year to her.

Here are some excerpts of Rice's speech:
"America remains deeply and permanently committed to Israel's peace and security. It is a commitment for this president and this Administration. It spans generations. It spans political parties. It is not negotiable. And it never will be".

"From the moment he took office, President Obama's guidance has been clear: to strengthen and deepen that commitment. He has been clear all along that our special relationship with Israel is deeply rooted in our common interests and our common values."

"That's why we've increased cooperation between our militaries to unprecedented levels. That's why, even in these tough fiscal times, we've increased foreign military financing to record levels. That's why we've also included additional support for the lifesaving Iron Dome anti-rocket system -- which saw action just days ago in defense of innocent Israelis who live near the Gaza frontier."

"That's why we're working jointly to toughen up Israel's security through the Arrow system; and through David's Sling; and through joint military exercises that have never been more robust."
On Iran : Our message and our policy has been clear, from the President on down: we remain determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That’s why we led the charge to pass the toughest Security Council resolution sanctioning Iran that it has ever faced. Resolution 1929 laid the groundwork for us and other partners around the world to impose ever tighter bilateral sanctions. Moreover, as the President has said repeatedly, all options remain on the table.

Now, we also continue to believe that lasting security means lasting peace. So our efforts toward Arab-Israeli peace continue. It is precisely our commitment to Israel’s security that spurs us to advance peacemaking.

But make no mistake: President Obama, Secretary Clinton, I, and our entire Administration understand there are no short-cuts. And we have demonstrated that unflinchingly at the UN these past months.

There is no substitute for direct, face-to-face negotiations. The goal remains a lasting peace: two states for two peoples, Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace. That is the only path to Israel’s decades-long quest for security and the only path to fulfilling the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations.

And that is why we have stood firm on principle as the Palestinians sought UN membership prematurely—and we will continue to fight against any obstacle placed on the path to peace.

But that is not our only fight at the UN. The Obama Administration has been tireless in its campaign to guarantee that Israel gets fair and equal treatment at the UN.

Now, all countries come in for knocks every now and again, including, if not especially, our own. But what Israel faces daily at the UN is something entirely different. As Ambassador Prosor can attest, it’s relentless. It’s obsessive. It’s ugly. It’s bad for the UN. It’s bad for peace. And it must stop..

I hope we never let our justified frustration over the treatment of Israel blind us to the ways in which the UN is vital to our security and our values. It’s not in America’s interest to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Whether it’s bringing the world together to isolate Iran or North Korea; keeping the peace in conflict zones at a fraction of the cost of sending U.S. troops; saving the lives of refugees and starving children; or fostering democracy in places like South Sudan and Liberia — the work of the UN is fundamentally in our interest. We will continue to lead, to pursue our interests and our values, and to stick up for fair treatment for Israel."