President Peres is welcomed by President of the European Parliament
I stand here before you, burning memories in my heart, great hopes in my
soul. I carry profound pain concerning the past. And look with confident eyes to
I immigrated to Israel in 1934, at the age of 11. In 1942, most of the
inhabitants of my town were burned alive. Had my family delayed their emigration
by 8 years, we would have been exterminated.
A year before the creation of Israel, in 1947, I was recruited to the Haganah
headquarters. Since then, Israel has been attacked seven times in its 65 years
of existence. We were outmanned and outgunned. The choice was to win or to die.
I participated as well in confronting another enemy - the desert. We won. We
made it bloom. No other people experienced anything similar.
I have my memories, but I carry my dreams. I did not come to reminisce, but
to continue to dream. People age. Dreams are ageless. We changed. Europe
I came to express our admiration for the changed Europe. Europe picked itself
up in the wake of the worst of world wars.
It divorced its past, it created a
new Europe. You converted the divided Europe of the last thousand years, to the
united Europe of today. You replaced military camps with scientific campuses.
Europe which knew racism now considers it a crime. I know that you are facing an
economic crisis, but your skies are without clouds of war. A European country
introduced the Nobel Prize. And now a united Europe won it rightly.
Europe corrected its mistakes and is building a better world. For us, the
Europe of the Shoah is becoming a Europe supporting our renaissance.
The idea of the rebirth of Israel was born on European soil. In the past
thousand years, more Jews lived in Europe than in any other continent. Alas,
more Jews were murdered in Europe in the last hundred years than in the
preceding two thousand years. We experienced here the worst tragedy of our
history. Here we dreamed an impossible rebirth. Six million, a third of our
people, were murdered here by starvation, gas, rifles and fire. What remains
from them is ashes.
We shall not forget that the righteous among the nations carried candles of
light in the darkness. They were small in number but great in heroism.
Israel was born from the ashes at the end of the Second World War. If someone
had stood up then and said that within three years a Jewish state would be
created - he would have been considered a delirious visionary. But the dream
became a reality.
And if somebody would have stood up on that very day, and said that in six
short years a new united Europe would be born, with borders erased, barriers
lowered, he would have been considered an author of fiction. And another miracle
occurred. Six countries signed the Treaty of Paris and became a community of 27
nations across Europe.
Our relations here and now are a dialogue between two miracles.
Israel enjoys an Association Agreement with Europe, and close ties with the
European Union in nearly all fields. I have come to thank you for your
friendship, based on common values, geographic proximity and a long history.
Politically - Israel is a Western democracy with a Mediterranean experience.
Religiously - Israel is the cradle of the three great monotheistic religions.
Scientifically - Israel is advanced, even by European standards.
Israel is small: One pro mil of the Middle Eastern area. Its soil is barren
rather than fertile. A typically Middle Eastern soil. Water is sparse. We have
two lakes, one is dead, the other is dying. We have a single river - the Jordan
- rich in history, poor in water. The land is rich in archeology and poor in
The only natural resource we discovered is the human potential. Israel is an
example where the people enriched the land more than the land enriched the
people. It is an example where the devotion of people and merits of hi-tech
forced deserts to surrender. To flourish.
We went through seven wars. We won them. But when peace became possible, we
returned all the land and assets which we won at war to Egypt and Jordan. We
started a peace process with the Palestinians which enabled to build a
Palestinian Authority. Then, we evacuated the Gaza Strip. We dismantled 22
settlements and brought back home all the settlers. The Palestinians could have
used the Strip to build an independent entity. Unfortunately, they turned it
into a terrorist base instead. It became a setback to the peace process.
Israel is an island in a stormy ocean. We have to defend our island. And we
are interested in the tranquilization of the sea. Some people claim it will take
generations. Europe has proved that great events can be achieved in six years.
We live in a new era where events are moving at the speed of a plane and no
longer at the speed of a carriage. For that reason, I believe that peace can be
achieved in a short while.
The peace process with the Palestinians already has an agreed beginning and
an agreed solution. Two states for two nations. An Arab state - Palestine. A
Jewish state - Israel - living in peace, security and economic cooperation. The
remaining disputed issues can and should be negotiated.
Peace for Israel is not just a strategic choice. It is a moral call which
stems from the depth of our heritage. Since the Exodus, our heritage condemns
slavery and rejects mastery, as all persons were born equal. Our legacy calls
upon us to pursue peace.
Together with my partner Yitzhak Rabin, we laid down the foundations for
peace with the Palestinians. Now it is time to continue. To renew the peace
process. We must continue to work with the Palestinian Authority. Support its
economy. Achieve peace. A Palestinian security force was formed. You and the
Americans trained it. And now we work together to prevent terror and crime.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our hand remains stretched out in peace to all the countries in the Middle
East. In a short while, a new Israeli government will be formed. It is an
occasion to resume peace negotiations. To realize the two-state solution. There
is no other solution.
It is not only our preference but the call of the
Jordan, Israel and Palestine, find themselves in a similar situation. Terror
endangers each of them separately and the three of them collectively. Collective
dangers call for collective security. I have the highest regard for the King of
Jordan. Like his father, he has proved to be courageously committed to peace. I
have known the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas for many
years. He condemns terror and is a real partner for peace.
Europe has been and continues to be a major partner for peace and against
terror. Next week, we will be hosting President Obama in Israel as a welcome and
esteemed guest. His support for our security is extraordinary and his devotion
to peace is unshakeable. We are glad that the United States and Europe are now
working together, supporting peace and rejecting terror.
The greatest danger to peace in the world is the present Iranian regime. It
became a dictatorship cloaked in a religious mantle. It developed an imperial
appetite. Nobody threatens Iran. Iran threatens others. It endangers the
independence of Arab countries. It menaces the mere existence of Israel. It
smuggles arms into many countries in order to undermine their stability. They
deny the Holocaust. They call for another Holocaust. They are aiming to build a
nuclear weapon and they deny it. A nuclear bomb in the hands of an irresponsible
regime is an imminent danger to the world.
The European Union and the United States drew the conclusions and together
created a policy to stop this danger. To this end, you rightly decided to impose
economic sanctions. You made it clear that if the Iranians will not respond,
other options are on the table.
In addition to the nuclear bomb, Iran is constructing long-range missiles
equipped with nuclear warheads. It can reach the far corners of the world,
including Europe. I believe that in addition to controlling the production of
highly enriched uranium - there is a need to control the means of delivery. To
control the production of missiles capable of carrying nuclear
Khamenei declared that religion prohibits the production and use of
nuclear arms. Why then does he build missiles capable of carrying nuclear
During the Helsinki conference which took place in 1975, the U.S.A. placed
the issue of human rights in the Soviet Union at the top of the world's agenda.
It was surprising and effective. It shows that the moral voice is no less
important than a diplomatic demarche.
Today, this call should apply to Iran. A clear voice must be raised against
the violation of human rights by the Iranian regime. A clear voice must be
raised against a regime that hangs people without bringing them to court, that
throws journalists into prison without trial. That fires live bullets at
civilian demonstrators, without respect for their lives. A clear voice must be
raised against a regime that discriminates against women. And instead of sharing
the oil-generated profits with their own people, they spend them on terror and
arms to endanger people all over the world. Enriched uranium impoverishes hungry
A moral voice will encourage the Iranian people in their fight for freedom,
in their struggle against misery.
Very soon, elections will take place in Iran. The Ayatollahs should not be
allowed to falsify the results. To frustrate the right of the people to make
their own free choice. Your voice will show the Iranian people that the world
has not turned its back on them. The present leaders of Iran are violating the
charter of the United Nations which condemns the violation of human rights and
aggression against other nations. Yet they are given the opportunity in the
United Nations to abuse its platforms.
Iran supports terrorism throughout the world. Its main proxy, Hezbollah,
carries out terror attacks and threatens the stability of the entire region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The historic Sykes-Picot agreement between France and England, gave birth to
modern Lebanon to be a multi-cultural country where Muslims, Christians and
Druze live together in peace. Today, Hezbollah, supported by Iran, is destroying
Hezbollah is a terror organization. Not a political movement. They collect
missiles. They are trigger-happy. They hide missiles in peaceful towns and
villages. By doing so, they turn them into a war target.
Hezbollah divided Lebanon politically, religiously and ethnically. It turned
the land of the cedar tree into a scorched and barren land. Hezbollah is a state
within a state. A private army apart from the national army. It sends soldiers
to support the massacre of a bloody dictator in Syria. With no authorization of
the government of which it is a member.
Recently, 20 terror attempts by Hezbollah were counted all over the world, in
India, Thailand, Georgia, South Africa, the U.S.A., Egypt and Greece, among
others. Last month, the government of Bulgaria, a member of this European Union,
reported that it had identified that the terror attack in Burgas, was carried
out by Hezbollah. Five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian citizen lost their
lives. Cyprus recently arrested a Hezbollah terrorist planning a terror attack.
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
Your voice is highly respected. We appeal to you - call terror - terror. Save
Lebanon from terrorist madness. Save the Syrian people from Iran's proxies. Save
your citizens and ours from Hezbollah. The international community must
designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Today, terror's extent reaches far beyond its previous limitations. Recently,
terrorists attempted to take over Mali. Were they to succeed, it would have
halted the impressive endeavor of the African continent to recover from its
past. One of the highest hopes for all of us is to see the brave attempt of the
African people to build a new science-based economy. The free world cannot stand
by as terror imposes its grip onto any part of the world, far or near.
It cannot stand by when a massacre is carried out by the Syrian president
against his own people and his own children. It breaks all our hearts. Assad
secretly built a nuclear installation and an arsenal of chemical weapons. While
the nuclear installation was destroyed in time, the chemical arms remain in his
hands to this very day. This terrible danger threatens the Syrian people, the
entire region and even Europe.
A solution must be found to prevent the chemical weapons from falling into
the wrong hands. The best solution to put an end to the Syrian tragedy might be
achieved by empowering the Arab League, of which Syria is a member, to
The intervention of Western forces would be perceived as a foreign
interference. The Arab League can and should form a provisional government in
Syria to stop the massacre, to prevent Syria from falling to pieces. The United
Nations should support an Arab force in blue helmets.
years ago I came to Brussels to sign the Association Agreement between the
European Union and Israel. I am happy that reality has surpassed my
expectations. Indeed, the Association Agreement became a partnership. And before
long, the partnership became a friendship.
It is on these steady grounds that I propose to the European Union and Israel
to cooperate for the benefit of stability and prosperity in the Middle East, and
the developing world at large.
Israel is described as a Start-Up Nation. I believe that the whole Middle
East can become a Start-Up region. Hi-tech incubators can be created all over
the region to escape poverty.
Israel is small. So we try to take advantage of our smallness. We discovered
that small countries can become great pilot plans. Today, we are trying to build
a social model that will bridge the gap between the have and have-nots. The
social gap is a major problem for all of us, rich and poor. We are looking for
new ways to overcome this gap by democratizing health, education, communication
and by reducing the cost of food and housing. This is a burning need for the
We intend to improve the human condition. To enable each person to possess
the capacity of making a free choice for their way of life, by entering the
secrets of our brains. The brain is the most illustrious instrument of the
world. It has enabled us to build artificial brains. Yet we are still far from
understanding the way it functions. We are strangers to ourselves. Discovering
the mechanism of our brain will enable us to become friendly with ourselves and
our fellow men. I am glad that this effort gained a new priority and became a
major topic for cooperation between our governments, non-governmental
organizations, and between us as individuals.
Our global world has no global government. It has become almost ungovernable.
We have to look for an alternative.I believe the future ways of governing shall
rely on three pillars: National governments will continue to be in charge of the
husbandry of the national state. Global companies will invest in research and
development. And the individual will enjoy the capacity to govern themselves by
knowing the way their brain functions.
Science today is more telling than politics. It is universal and borderless.
Armies cannot conquer wisdom. Police cannot arrest science. I believe that
scientific aid to developing countries can enable them to escape poverty.
Science-based global companies can help change the world. Globalization put an
end to racism. It empowers the individual. Global companies do not impose their
will upon people. On the contrary, they respect the will of their clients. They
can provide scientific know-how for growth. They can assist young people to
acquire high education. To create jobs befitting their skills.
This may be the best help we can offer to the young generation in the Arab
world to answer the challenges of the new age. I proposed a plan for a joint
venture for the European Union between national governments and global
corporations in order to cope with these challenges.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I know it requires your support as the European Parliament. But allow me to
count on your help. Joining Europe's wisdom and Israel's experience, we can
overcome tomorrow's challenges. Facing the lack of global governance, we can
foster close cooperation between governments and global companies. Facing the
dangers which threaten the values for which we stand, we shall fight terror
wherever it is, relentlessly.
Esteemed Members of Parliament,
Jean Monnet, the father of the European Union, once said: "Everybody is
ambitious. The question is whether he is ambitious to be, or ambitious to do."
The time has come to do. Let us remember that we are only ever as great as the
purpose we serve.
Yes, the challenges ahead of us are daunting But who better to defy the
seemingly impossible than two miracles? Let us join forces, the European Union
and Israel. To fulfill the teachings of our heritage.
In the words of my forefathers, let us fix the world - Tikkun Olam. In the
words of Jean Monnet - let us do.
Let us work together for a better Middle East, for a forward-thinking Europe.
Let us fulfill our values of peace, democracy, human rights. Yielding at no
obstacle. Daring the new. We shall be servants of the future rather than rulers
of the past.
As I look upon the future of the friendship which ties Israel to the European
Union, I am filled with hope and determination. Hand in hand, we shall build a
brighter tomorrow for tomorrow's generation.