Statements by PM Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry After Their
Meeting in Jerusalem 05/12/2013
Netanyahu: It’s good to have you again, Secretary of State John Kerry. John,
you’re a welcome friend and it’s good to welcome you back in Jerusalem.
Our discussion this morning focused on two central issues. First and
foremost, we discussed the danger to the world posed by Iran’s pursuit of a
nuclear weapons capability. We believe that, in a final deal, unlike the
interim deal, it is crucial to bring about a final agreement about the
termination of Iran’s military nuclear capability. I have expressed my
concern since Geneva that the sanctions would begin to unravel, and I think
steps must be taken to prevent further erosions of sanctions.
Now, on the Palestinian issue, I want to say that Israel is ready for a
historic peace, and it’s a peace based on two states for two peoples. It’s a
peace that Israel can and must be able to defend by itself with our own
forces against any foreseeable threat. I would also stress that Israel
continues to honor all understandings reached in prior negotiations. If this
process is going to continue, we’re going to have to have a continual
negotiation. We don’t need artificial crises. I think we don’t need finger
pointing either. What we need is not grandstanding, but understanding and
agreements and that requires hard and serious hard work. It actually
requires that we do not put before you, gentlemen and ladies of the press,
everything that we’re discussing, but to have these real discussions inside,
in a sustained effort to bridge historic gaps and provide security. I’m
fully committed and Israel is fully committed to such an effort and I hope
the Palestinians are committed to this goal as well.
I want to thank you, John, for your tireless efforts. I use that word
carefully, tireless and indefatigable. You continue to pursue this quest for
peace. I appreciate it and I welcome it and I also welcome the opportunity
to continue our discussions this evening and tomorrow and beyond.
So welcome to Jerusalem again.
Kerry: Thank you, my friend. Well, Mr. Prime Minister, my friend, Bibi, I am
very, very happy to be back in Israel. It’s always a pleasure for me to
visit and I visited here so many times as a United States’ Senator and now
as Secretary of State. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many people
here and many parts of this great country. When I first came here, I think
in 1986, I spent a week and travelled every part of the country, climbed
Masada, bathed in the Dead Sea, went to Galilee, the North, visited Kiryat
Shmona where kids were having to hide from rockets, Katusha rockets, then
indiscriminately attacking them from Lebanon and I have seen the rockets in
Sderot from people who were taking cover from Gaza.
So I understand the challenge of security that Israel faces. I understand it
very well. And I join with President Obama in expressing to the people of
Israel our deep, deep commitment to the security of Israel and to the need
to find a peace that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, recognizes Israel
as a country that can defend itself, by itself, and that is an important
principle with which the Prime Minister and the President and I are in
Much of our discussion in the very beginning obviously focused on where we
are with respect to Iran. I can’t emphasize enough that Israel’s security in
this negotiation is at the top of our agenda and the United States will do
everything in our power to make certain that Iran’s nuclear program, a
program of weaponization possibilities, is terminated. We agree on what the
goal of the final status agreement ought to be. And in the days and weeks
ahead, we will consult very closely and continually with our Israeli friends
in order to bring about a comprehensive agreement that can withstand
everybody’s test. A peaceful program should not be that hard to prove and
everybody will know whether or not, in the end, the comprehensive agreement
actually provides a test adequate to prove the peacefulness of that program.
We will continue to keep our friends in Israel and our friends in the region
fully advised as we continue those negotiations. For the moment, we are in
the process of simply putting in place the implementation language itself.
With respect to the sanctions, we will obviously be vigilant. We say to any
country that contemplates moving ahead of sanctions: Don’t because those
sanctions will continue to be enforced.
The fundamental sanctions regime of oil and banking remains absolutely in
place. It is not changed. And we will be stepping up our efforts of
enforcement through the Treasury Department and through the appropriate
agencies of the United States.
We obviously also spent a very significant amount of time, and we will
continue those discussions tonight, with respect to the direct negotiations
between the Israelis and the Palestinians, we have always known that this is
a difficult, complicated road. And we understand that. I believe we are
making some progress and the parties remain committed to this task. They are
meeting regularly and they have also remained, we have remained in very
close touch with both leaders as we proceed down this road.
Once again, Israel’s security is fundamental to these negotiations and today
General John Allen, who is one of the very best military minds in the United
States, one of our most experienced military leaders, who has been spending
months now analyzing the security challenges with respect to this process.
President Obama has designated him to play a very special role in assessing
the potential threats to Israel, to the region and ensuring that the
security arrangements that we might contemplate in the context of this
process, will provide for greater security for Israel.
This morning, General Allen and I provide Prime Minister Netanyahu and his
military leadership with some thoughts about that particular security
challenge and this conversation will continue over dinner and possibly into
tomorrow morning. At some point in time, it depends a little on our talks
here, I look forward to visiting the Palmahim Air Base, and doing so with
Minister Moshe Ya’alon. I don’t know if we’ll have time to do that tomorrow
or not, but I do want to do that because I want to see firsthand the
remarkable ballistic missile defense technologies in place that our nation
has spent over 20 years building with our friends here in Israel in order to
protect Israel from the full range of missile threats that it faces. And the
advancement of these programs in recent years, I think, is a reflection of
President Obama’s and his Administration’s strong commitment, unwavering
commitment to Israel’s security. It’s appropriate that, at some point, I get
a chance to see how that is implemented and how it is working.
So I’ll just close by saying what perhaps doesn’t need to be said, but I
want to say it: The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable
and while occasionally we might have a difference of a tactical measure, we
do not have a difference about the fundamental strategy that we both seek
with respect with the security of Israel and the long-term peace of this
region. And we will continue to work for that and I thank my many Israeli
friends for their embrace and for their patience as we pursue this
Thank you, Prime Minister