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Monday, July 12, 2010

PM Netanyahu addresses Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations

I had a very good meeting with President Obama yesterday. We discussed those issues that formed the common bond between Israel and the United States. I'm speaking now in the city of New York. New York was bombed several years ago. There were reactions that were different throughout the Middle East. In many places there were celebrations. In Israel people wept. They grieved because we view ourselves as part of that same civilization that the United States of America represents - a free, pluralistic, democratic society. America has no better friend, no better ally than the State of Israel.

The President and I discussed Iran, and he reiterated his determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We discussed the sanctions of the Security Council that formed an international consensus about the lack of legitimacy of Iran's pursuit to develop atomic bombs. That's important. Equally important were the sanctions that were signed by the President the other day - they have teeth. It's important that other countries follow suit with sanctions with teeth. That means that they bite into Iran's energy sector.

I cannot tell you that this will stop Iran's nuclear program. I think that it's important to understand however, that it must be stopped and I welcome the determination and the clarity that this issue that I've been talking about for fifteen years and it was the first thing that I discussed in my first term as Prime Minister before a joint session of the U.S. Congress. I said that there is no greater threat to humanity than the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran and today the greatest threat is still that the world's most dangerous regimes acquire the world's most dangerous weapons. This must not be allowed to happen. Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

We also discussed our quest for peace with the Palestinians. I outlined my vision of a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish State of Israel. Now let me be clear about the elements of this vision. I said a demilitarized Palestinian state. First of all, we don't want to govern the Palestinians and we don't want them to be either our subjects or citizens of the country. But we also want to make sure that they have their own independent dignified life, but that they don't threaten the State of Israel.


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