Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding


News & Views, June 2009

Al-Jazeerah History


Mission & Name  

Conflict Terminology  


Gaza Holocaust  

Gulf War  




News Photos  

Opinion Editorials

US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)  





Netanyahu's Speech in Response to Obama's Cairo Speech:

Corrections of his Distortions

By Hassan El-Najjar, June 15, 2009

Editor's Note:

After reading the Netanyahu speech, I found that it is impossible to publish it without responding to the enormous number of distortions of the truth included. It would be like spreading the Israeli-Zionist propaganda and the same distortion of facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Instead of writing my comments on the speech at the end, I have included responses to the main distortions directly below each one of them, whenever they occurred in the speech, in blue bold color.

The speech is published in its entirety without any changes.


Prime Minister's Speech at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University

Israeli Prime Minister's Website,


Honored guests,

citizens of Israel.

Peace has always been our people’s most ardent desire. Our prophets gave the world the vision of peace, we greet one another with wishes of peace, and our prayers conclude with the word peace.

We are gathered this evening in an institution named for two pioneers of peace, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, and we share in their vision.

Two and half months ago, I took the oath of office as the Prime Minister of Israel. I pledged to establish a national unity government – and I did.  I believed and I still believe that unity was essential for us now more than ever as we face three immense challenges – the Iranian threat, the economic crisis, and the advancement of peace.

The Iranian threat looms large before us, as was further demonstrated yesterday.  The greatest danger confronting Israel, the Middle East, the entire world and human race, is the nexus between radical Islam and nuclear weapons.  I discussed this issue with President Obama during my recent visit to Washington, and I will raise it again in my meetings next week with European leaders.  For years, I have been working tirelessly to forge an international alliance to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

 (Comments by Editor:

1. Associating Islam with radicalism is a continuation of the Israeli incitement for war on the Muslim World.

2. Iran does not have nuclear weapons but Israel does, more than 200 nuclear bombs.

3. Iran did not launch wars on its neighbors but Israel has been launching wars against its neighbors since 1948, which has made it more dangerous on the region and international peace).

Confronting a global economic crisis, the government acted swiftly to stabilize Israel’s economy. We passed a two year budget in the government – and the Knesset will soon approve it.

And the third challenge, so exceedingly important, is the advancement of peace.  I also spoke about this with President Obama, and I fully support the idea of a regional peace that he is leading. 

I share the President’s desire to bring about a new era of reconciliation in our region. To this end, I met with President Mubarak in Egypt, and King Abdullah in Jordan, to elicit the support of these leaders in expanding the circle of peace in our region.

I turn to all Arab leaders tonight and I say: “Let us meet. Let us speak of peace and let us make peace. I am ready to meet with you at any time.  I am willing to go to Damascus, to Riyadh, to Beirut, to any place- including Jerusalem.

I call on the Arab countries to cooperate with the Palestinians and with us to advance an economic peace. An economic peace is not a substitute for a political peace, but an important element to achieving it. Together, we can undertake projects to overcome the scarcities of our region, like water desalination or to maximize its advantages, like developing solar energy, or laying gas and petroleum lines, and transportation links between Asia, Africa and Europe. 

The economic success of the Gulf States has impressed us all and it has impressed me. I call on the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world to come and invest here and to assist the Palestinians – and us – in spurring the economy.

Together, we can develop industrial areas that will generate thousands of jobs and create tourist sites that will attract millions of visitors eager to walk in the footsteps of history – in Nazareth and in Bethlehem, around the walls of Jericho and the walls of Jerusalem, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee and the baptismal site of the Jordan.
There is an enormous potential for archeological tourism, if we can only learn to cooperate and to develop it.

I turn to you, our Palestinian neighbors, led by the Palestinian Authority, and I say: Let’s begin negotiations immediately without preconditions. Israel is obligated by its international commitments and expects all parties to keep their commitments.

We want to live with you in peace, as good neighbors. We want our children and your children to never again experience war: that parents, brothers and sisters will never again know the agony of losing loved ones in battle; that our children will be able to dream of a better future and realize that dream; and that together we will invest our energies in plowshares and pruning hooks, not swords and spears.

I know the face of war.  I have experienced battle.  I lost close friends, I lost a brother.  I have seen the pain of bereaved families.  I do not want war.  No one in Israel wants war (Continuous Israeli wars, particularly the wanton war on Gaza in January 2009 belies this last assertion).

If we join hands and work together for peace, there is no limit to the development and prosperity we can achieve for our two peoples – in the economy, agriculture, trade, tourism, and education -  most importantly, in providing our youth a better world in which to live, a life full of tranquility, creativity, opportunity, and hope.

If the advantages of peace are so evident, we must ask ourselves why peace remains so remote, even as our hand remains outstretched to peace?  Why has this conflict continued for more than sixty years?

(The conflict started in 1897, when European Zionists decided to colonize Palestine on the expense of the Palestinian people).

In order to bring an end to the conflict, we must give an honest and forthright answer to the question: What is the root of the conflict?

In his speech to the first Zionist Conference in Basel, the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, said about the Jewish national home “This idea is so big that we must speak of it only in the simplest terms.” Today, I will speak about the immense challenge of peace in the simplest words possible.

Even as we look toward the horizon, we must be firmly connected to reality, to the truth. And the simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland.

(The root of the conflict lies in invading Palestine by Zionists, instead of peaceful immigration, then establishing a state which continued launching wars on the Palestinian people and all Arab neighbors to subjugate them by keeping them under indefinite military occupation).

In 1947, when the United Nations proposed the partition plan of a Jewish state and an Arab state, the entire Arab world rejected the resolution. The Jewish community, by contrast, welcomed it by dancing and rejoicing.

The Arabs rejected any Jewish state, in any borders.

(Arabs rejected it because Palestine was owned by the Palestinian people. Why would they accept giving 56% of it to foreign invaders?).

Those who think that the continued enmity toward Israel is a product of our presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, is confusing cause and consequence.

(Insisting on calling the Palestinian territory of the West Bank as Judea and Samaria is the evidence for Israeli aggression, the lust for Palestinian lands, and rejection of the establishment of the Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza).

The attacks against us began in the 1920s, escalated into a comprehensive attack in 1948 with the declaration of Israel’s independence, continued with the fedayeen attacks in the 1950s, and climaxed in 1967, on the eve of the six-day war, in an attempt to tighten a noose around the neck of the State of Israel. 

(This is an outright distortion of history. The Zionists attacked Palestinians first by invading their country with the British help, directly after the British occupation and the Balfour declaration in 1917. Then, the Zionist Israeli attacks started in 1948 until today.

The Nakba war of 1948 was launched by Israeli Zionists to evict Palestinians from their lands. Israeli historians have admitted it. Then, in 1949, Israeli forces annexed Galilee, Aujah, most of the Gaza Strip territory (which was supposed to reach Isdood north, and the Jerusalem corridor.

In 1956, Israeli forces participated with the British and French imperialist forces in invading Egypt and Gaza Strip (The Suez Canal War).

 In 1967, Israel launched its war of aggression on Egypt, Gaza, Jordan, and Syria, which resulted in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, and the Syrian Golan Heights. Then, Israeli wars were launched in 1978 and 1982 on Lebanon, which resulted in the occupation of South Lebanon until Hizbullah resistance fighters liberated it by force in 2000. In 2006, Israel still launched another war on Lebanon with the pretext of liberating two captured soldiers).

In Gaza, about 8,000 Zionist Israeli settlers occupied about 40% of the land while about 1.5 were caged in the tiny territory. Even, when the Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers were forced to withdraw from Gaza in 2005, as a result of the Palestinian resistance, the Gaza Strip has been placed under a severe siege and brutal blockade until this moment. Briefly, distortion of history does not serve peace, it's not a starter. A good start should be an Israeli-Zionist recognition of the plight of the Palestinian people as a result of the establishment of Israel, which should include a clear apology, compensation for the loss and use of property, and repatriation of refugees according to the UN resolutions).

All this occurred during the fifty years before a single Israeli soldier ever set foot in Judea and Samaria .

Fortunately, Egypt and Jordan left this circle of enmity.  The signing of peace treaties have brought about an end to their claims against Israel, an end to the conflict. But to our regret, this is not the case with the Palestinians. The closer we get to an agreement with them, the further they retreat and raise demands that are inconsistent with a true desire to end the conflict.

(Outright distortion again. It's Israel which has been the Palestinian territory of the West Bank until now and Gaza Strip until 2005 and continues to besiege and blockade it. It's Israel which refuses peace by continuing its military occupation).

Many good people have told us that withdrawal from territories is the key to peace with the Palestinians. Well, we withdrew. But the fact is that every withdrawal was met with massive waves of terror, by suicide bombers and thousands of missiles.

(Distortion: After withdrawal, Israel continued targeting Palestinians with assassinations and missile attacks, which triggered Palestinian retaliations in missiles and suicide bombing).

We tried to withdraw with an agreement and without an agreement.  We tried a partial withdrawal and a full withdrawal.  In 2000 and again last year, Israel proposed an almost total withdrawal in exchange for an end to the conflict, and twice our offers were rejected.

We evacuated every last inch of the Gaza strip, we uprooted tens of settlements and evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes, and in response, we received a hail of missiles on our cities, towns and children. 

The claim that territorial withdrawals will bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least advance peace, has up till now not stood the test of reality.

(Distortion: After withdrawal, Israel continued targeting Palestinians with assassinations and missile attacks, which triggered Palestinian retaliations in missiles and suicide bombing).

In addition to this, Hamas in the south, like Hezbollah in the north, repeatedly proclaims their commitment to “liberate” the Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Beersheba, Acre and Haifa. 

(This is the same as the Likud Party and its constituents, the illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank, who call the West Bank Judea and Samaria, and consider it part of Israel).

Territorial withdrawals have not lessened the hatred, and to our regret, Palestinian moderates are not yet ready to say the simple words: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it will stay that way.

(For those who do not follow Israeli politics, this is the new ploy used by Netanyahu and his partners in government to stall any progress in peace. They are demanding that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state even before reaching an agreement on borders and refugee rights. This means that they want Palestinians to relinquish their property rights to European and American Zionist Jews contrary to the UN resolutions which have stated these rights since the conflict started. More importantly, this Israeli-Zionist demand puts more than a million Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship in jeopardy of deportation because they are not Jews. That's why nobody should be deceived by this cunning demand).

Achieving peace will require courage and candor from both sides, and not only from the Israeli side.
The Palestinian leadership must arise and say: “Enough of this conflict. We recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in this land, and we are prepared to live beside you in true peace.” 
I am yearning for that moment, for when Palestinian leaders say those words to our people and to their people, then a path will be opened to resolving all the problems between our peoples, no matter how complex they may be.

Therefore, a fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. 

(So, there you have it, this is the Netanyahu condition for participating in the peace process. Palestinians have to accept that they have no right in Israel, which means they cannot be compensated for their stolen property, they cannot return to it, and cannot live there even if they are citizens of Israel now. This is anything but peace or peaceful intention).

To vest this declaration with practical meaning, there must also be a clear understanding that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel’s borders.  For it is clear that any demand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel’s continued existence as the state of the Jewish people.

The Palestinian refugee problem must be solved, and it can be solved, as we ourselves proved in a similar situation.  Tiny Israel successfully absorbed tens of thousands of Jewish refugees who left their homes and belongings in Arab countries. 

Therefore, justice and logic demand that the Palestinian refugee problem be solved outside Israel’s borders.  On this point, there is a broad national consensus.  I believe that with goodwill and international investment, this humanitarian problem can be permanently resolved. 

(This is the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's not just a humanitarian problem. It's about the Nakba, massacres of Palestinians to evict them from their lands, it's about the longest foreign military occupation in our time, and it's simply about property rights for Palestinian refugees and their descendants).

So far I have spoken about the need for Palestinians to recognize our rights.  In am moment, I will speak openly about our need to recognize their rights.  

But let me first say that the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel has lasted for more than 3500 years.  Judea and Samaria, the places where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David and Solomon, and Isaiah and Jeremiah lived, are not alien to us.  This is the land of our forefathers.

(This is the biggest distortion ever. Most Israelis are of European origin. Most European Jews have no roots in the Middle East, they are not descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon (Peace and blessings of God be upon them all). They are descendants of converts to Judaism. Being a Jew does not mean that a person is Middle Eastern in origin.

Actually, the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon are the Palestinian people, whose ancestors believed in the message of Jesus Christ (Peace and blessings of God be upon him) and became Christians. Then, many of them accepted the message of Muhammed (Peace and blessings of God be upon him) and became Muslims. The distortion here is confusing religion with descent. They are not the same. It has been a ploy used by the Zionists to get support from Christian fundamentalists who do not know the difference between a Jew and an Israelite).

The right of the Jewish people to a state in the land of Israel does not derive from the catastrophes that have plagued our people. True, for 2000 years the Jewish people suffered expulsions, pogroms, blood libels, and massacres which culminated in a Holocaust - a suffering which has no parallel in human history. 

There are those who say that if the Holocaust had not occurred, the state of Israel would never have been established.  But I say that if the state of Israel would have been established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occurred. 
This tragic history of powerlessness explains why the Jewish people need a sovereign power of self-defense.
But our right to build our sovereign state here, in the land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged. 

(What's missing here is the question: Why should the Palestinian people pay for something the Germans did in Europe?)

As Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proclaimed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence: “The Jewish people arose in the land of Israel and it was here that its spiritual, religious and political character was shaped. Here they attained their sovereignty, and here they bequeathed to the world their national and cultural treasures, and the most eternal of books.”

But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them.

(The term "community" is belittling the Palestinian people, who exceed the Israelis in number, even inside Palestine, let alone adding Palestinians in the Diaspora).

In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect.  Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government.  Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other.

These two realities – our connection to the land of Israel, and the Palestinian population living within it – have created deep divisions in Israeli society. But the truth is that we have much more that unites us than divides us.
I have come tonight to give expression to that unity, and to the principles of peace and security on which there is broad agreement within Israeli society. These are the principles that guide our policy.

This policy must take into account the international situation that has recently developed.  We must recognize this reality and at the same time stand firmly on those principles essential for Israel.

I have already stressed the first principle – recognition.  Palestinians must clearly and unambiguously recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.  The second principle is: demilitarization. The territory under Palestinian control must be demilitarized with ironclad security provisions for Israel. 

(The Israeli Zionist state must also be demilitarized, as it has proved that it has been a threat to the world peace since its inception, and particularly because of its arsenal of nuclear and other unconventional weapons. Demilitarization of the Palestinian state alone will make it under the continuous Israeli threats, intimidation, and attacks).

Without these two conditions, there is a real danger that an armed Palestinian state would emerge that would become another terrorist base against the Jewish state, such as the one in Gaza. 

(Now, enters terrorism. It would be impossible for Netanyahu to finish his speech without invoking the largest Israeli propaganda tool ever. If terrorism means killing civilians for political purposes, then the Israeli state is the number one terrorist state in the world. If the Palestinian state will be demilitarized alone, then the Israeli militarized state will continue terrorizing the Palestinian people for a long time to come, just like it has been doing since its inception).

We don’t want Kassam rockets on Petach Tikva, Grad rockets on Tel Aviv, or missiles on Ben-Gurion airport.  We want peace.

(The Palestinian people also do not want American-made Israeli jets dropping missiles, white phosphorus, and DIME bomb on their cities, schools, shelters, and mosques).

In order to achieve peace, we must ensure that Palestinians will not be able to import missiles into their territory, to field an army, to close their airspace to us, or to make pacts with the likes of Hezbollah and Iran. On this point as well, there is wide consensus within Israel.

It is impossible to expect us to agree in advance to the principle of a Palestinian state without assurances that this state will be demilitarized.

On a matter so critical to the existence of Israel, we must first have our security needs addressed.

Therefore, today we ask our friends in the international community, led by the United States, for what is critical to the security of Israel:  Clear commitments that in a future peace agreement, the territory controlled by the Palestinians will be demilitarized: namely, without an army, without control of its airspace, and with effective security measures to prevent weapons smuggling into the territory – real monitoring, and not what occurs in Gaza today.  And obviously, the Palestinians will not be able to forge military pacts.

(This is basically a continuation of the Israeli siege, blockade, direct control, and intervention. Then, how can a Palestinian state be sovereign. This may work if the same applies to Israel with international supervision over the two demilitarized states).

Without this, sooner or later, these territories will become another Hamastan. And that we cannot accept.

(Without this, sooner or later, the militarized Zionist state will resume its attacks on the Palestinian people. And that Palestinians cannot accept).

I told President Obama when I was in Washington that if we could agree on the substance, then the terminology would not pose a problem. 

And here is the substance that I now state clearly:

If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitirization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state. 

(Netanyahu is not a peace maker. He Knows that Palestinians do not agree to these two conditions. Therefore, he put them as a way to avoid a public relations confrontation with the Obama administration, no more and no less).

Regarding the remaining important issues that will be discussed as part of the final settlement, my positions are known: Israel needs defensible borders, and Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel with continued religious freedom for all faiths. 

The territorial question will be discussed as part of the final peace agreement.  In the meantime, we have no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements.

But there is a need to enable the residents to live normal lives, to allow mothers and fathers to raise their children like families elsewhere.  The settlers are neither the enemies of the people nor the enemies of peace.  Rather, they are an integral part of our people, a principled, pioneering and Zionist public.

(They are illegally living on usurped Palestinian lands. They represent a major problem for any peace process or any peace agreement. What they do is outright theft of the Palestinian property while being protected by the Israeli occupation forces).

Unity among us is essential and will help us achieve reconciliation with our neighbors.  That reconciliation must already begin by altering existing realities.  I believe that a strong Palestinian economy will strengthen peace.

If the Palestinians turn toward peace – in fighting terror, in strengthening governance and the rule of law, in educating their children for peace and in stopping incitement against Israel
- we will do our part in making every effort to facilitate freedom of movement and access, and to enable them to develop their economy.  All of this will help us advance a peace treaty between us. 

(More conditions: Palestinians must do this, this, and that, but Israelis can continue terrorizing the Palestinian people, can continue incitements against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims, can continue distorting history books in their schools. The double standard continues unabated in the Zionist mind).

Above all else, the Palestinians must decide between the path of peace and the path of Hamas. The Palestinian Authority will have to establish the rule of law in Gaza and overcome Hamas.  Israel will not sit at the negotiating table with terrorists who seek their destruction.  

(More conditions, this time on democracy. Hamas won the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament. But Netanyahu says he does not accept the democratic choice of the Palestinian people. He wants Hamas to recognize Israel in advance before reaching an agreement. At the same time, his double-standard mentality does not allow him to think about recognizing a Palestinian state before negotiations!).

Hamas will not even allow the Red Cross to visit our kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who has spent three years in captivity, cut off from his parents, his family and his people. We are committed to bringing him home, healthy and safe.

(More of the Netanyahu Zionist double-standard: He mentions one Israeli prisoner of war but never mentions the plight of about 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons and detention camps. The overwhelming majority of whom were civilians kidnapped by Israeli occupation forces for suspicion of being political activists opposing the illegal Israeli occupation of their country).

With a Palestinian leadership committed to peace, with the active participation of the Arab world, and the support of the United States and the international community, there is no reason why we cannot achieve a breakthrough to peace. 

Our people have already proven that we can do the impossible.  Over the past 61 years, while constantly defending our existence, we have performed wonders.

(Without the continuous financial, economic, military, and diplomatic support from US-EU governments, the Israeli Zionist state could neither have launched its "wonder" wars nor even existed as a viable state).

Our microchips are powering the world’s computers. Our medicines are treating diseases once considered incurable.  Our drip irrigation is bringing arid lands back to life across the globe. And Israeli scientists are expanding the boundaries of human knowledge.

(All nations of the world have been contributing to the world civilization, particularly for the sake of the welfare and well-being of human kind, not for continuous wars, military occupation, and subjugation of neighbors like Zionists have been doing since 1948).

If only our neighbors would respond to our call – peace too will be in our reach.

I call on the leaders of the Arab world and on the Palestinian leadership, let us continue together on the path of Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein. Let us realize the vision of the prophet Isaiah, who in Jerusalem 2700 years ago said: “nations shall not lift up sword against nations, and they shall learn war  no more.”

With God’s help, we will know no more war. We will know peace. 

(With this rhetoric and conditions, expressing the reality of Zionist Israel as an imperialist nuclear power, which continues to intimidate the entire Middle East and subjugate the Palestinian people,  peace is still a far-fetched idea as it has ever been since 1897

It's time for the US-EU governments to start imposing sanctions on the anti-peace Zionist state until it withdraws its occupation forces from the Palestinian and Syrian territories.

If US-EU governments continue their economic, financial, military, and diplomatic support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights, they are active participants in the Zionist imperialist project of dominating the Middle East and the subjugation of the Palestinian people).

Fair Use Notice

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.





Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent