Honorable speaker, House of Representatives of the Unites States of America, distinguished Congress Members, ladies and gentlemen.
I, the prime minister of the Jewish State, am proud to deliver a speech at the House of Representative's plenum, which holds a statue of Moses facing the speaker's chair alongside a status of Maimonides – a testament to the shared values at the basis of the special ties between the Free World's leader and its unique Mideastern ally. The roots of the alliance between the US and Israel go back to the first settlers who landed in the "new Canaan" in the 17th Century and continue with America's founding fathers, who viewed Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel and Gideon as a source of inspiration in the struggle for independence and for the federal system that turned into the world's leading democracy.
Congress members, not too long ago, the State of Israel celebrated its 63rd year of independence. After 2,000 years in exile, pogroms and a Holocaust, thanks to the devotion to our roots and our right for our homeland, and in the wake of a bloody war in 1948 where we lost 1% of our citizens, we gained independence. In 1967, we were able to unite Jerusalem and return to the cradle of Jewish history that gave rise to the Jewish and Judeo-Christian traditions, which stand at the root of America's morality, law and political system. We returned to Jerusalem to unite it, not to dissect it.
Israel is located in an unsteady region that is volatile, unstable and treacherous, as attested to by the major shocks in all Arab states. Against the backdrop of events in the Middle East, Israel holds a prominent place as the only state that is stable, trusted, holds proven capabilities and is democratic and an unconditional ally of the United States.
The events in the Middle East prove once again that the Palestinian issue is not at the root of regional shocks, that it is not the cause of anti-American terror, and that it is not the apple of Arab leaders' eye. All Arab regimes are facing threats that have nothing to do whatsoever with the Palestinian issue and are only paying it lip service, as they did in the past 63 years.
The US and Israel must focus on major threats on their joint interests and not let secondary regional issues undermine existing cooperation. I propose that we expand the current, prolific cooperation in the war on Muslim terror, which threatens Western democracies as well as American and Israeli interests. This is the time and place to laud your president and your security forces for managing to make mass murderer terrorist bin Laden pass from this world. Israel identifies with America's struggle against terror and with the American determination to protect its citizens and combat terrorism thousands of miles away from its border. Israel identifies with your struggle as we have experienced terror and wars on the part of the Palestinians and Arab states every day since 1948, and in fact dozens of years before gaining our independence.
Israel aspires for peace with all its neighbors, but nations do not place the cradle of their culture and their security on the negotiating table. Peace on the one hand and education stressing hatred and terror on the other hand are polar opposites. The anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incitement in the Palestinian education system, religious establishment and media, as well as Palestinian terror, reduces the chance for genuine peace. The riots at the borders with Syria, Lebanon and in Judea and Samaria focused on calls for an Arab return to Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, the Negev and Jerusalem. They constitute yet another proof that the conflict is about the existence rather than the borders of the Jewish State.
Israel has displayed its willingness for peace when it withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula – which is almost three times Israel's size. Israel opened the gate for peace with the Palestinians when it initiated the establishment of a Palestinian Authority in 1993, allowed tens of thousands of Palestinians to arrive there, and gave its approval for the establishment and arming of Palestinian security forces. However, since 1993 the education for hate and terror reached unprecedented levels. The Palestinians must dramatically change their conduct in order to facilitate the fulfillment of the aspiration for peace. Once they do that, they will find in us a fair partner for peace negotiations.
I, as Israel's prime minister, am certain of the Jewish People's right for the Land of Israel as an eternal, inalienable right. For me, under genuine peace, Jews and Arabs would be able to live together, as they do today in Ramle, Lod, Jaffa and Haifa.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, and not only to the Jews who live in that land. All founding founders of Zionism believe in this. We are talking here not only about Israel's security, but also about the Jewish People's rights in the Land of Israel. King David's kingdom, the Hasmoneans and the State of Israel are all one and the same. All stretched out a hand in peace, and I too stand here before the nations of the world and wholeheartedly declare: We are ready for peace.
Knesset Member Miri Regev, Likud