Newsletter : 6fax0711.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 11, 1996 V4, #125
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Netanyahu Addresses Congress and Press Club
By Paula Wolfson & Don Henry (VOA-Washington)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined his approach to
the Mideast peace process in his first address to the United States
Congress. "I recognize, Mr. Speaker, that the great honor you have
bestowed on me is not personal. It is a tribute to the
unshakable fact that the unique relationship between Israel and the
United States transcends politics and parties, governments and
Security was unusually tight during his speech to a joint meeting
of Congress. But the reception was warm. Lawmakers rose to their
feet to welcome the new israeli prime minister, prompting him to
open his remarks with a smile.
Putting his text aside for a moment, he looked at the members of
the legislature. "If only I could get the Knesset to vote like
But the tone of his speech was serious. He spoke of a yearning
for peace....A yearning tied to a desire to live free from fear.
"Peace means the absence of violence. Peace means not fearing for
your children every time they board a bus. Peace means walking the
streets of your town without the fearful shriek of Katyusha rockets
He touched a responsive chord with US lawmakers when he spoke of
the recent terrorist bombing in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. Just
imagine, he told the Congress, what it would be like to live in a
place where such attacks occur time and time again.
"Neither Israel nor any other democracy, and certainly not the
United States, must ever bend to terrorism. We must fight it
resolutely, endlessly, tirelessly. We must fight it together until
we remove this malignancy from the face of the earth."
The prime minister said security must be one of the pillars of the
peace process. He said both sides must live up to their treaty
obligations. And he said while Israel is willing to negotiate with
non-democratic neighbors, there can not be a lasting peace until
freedom and human rights become the norm throughout the region.
"We don't want merely peace in our time. We want peace for all
The speech was carefully targeted to its audience. Netanyahu
assured Congress there will never be a redivision of Jerusalem.
And the Republican-controlled legislature cheered when, sounding a
bit like an American politician, Netanyahu talked about economic
reforms in Israel. He said Israel does not have a phrase in
Hebrew for government deregulation. But as the Republicans
applauded, he quickly added "No word yet...but we will find one."
Netanyahu said Israel believes its differences with its neighbors
can be resolved without bloodshed. And he stressed the Israeli
government has no quarrel with Islam.
In a speech before the National Press Club, Netanyahu pledged to do
everything possible to help strengthen the economies of Jordan and
the Palestinian Authority.
Netanyahu told the reporters contemporary history clearly teaches
that there are two kinds of peace. One is peace with democratic
neighbors; the other is peace with totalitarian, nondemocratic
neighbors. "With democratic neighbors, you need do nothing, the
peace is inherent. How do we resolve problems in a democracy? We
debate, we argue, sometimes we shout, but we don't shoot.
Democracies tend towards peace."
But he said dictatorships settle internal differences by bullets,
not ballots, and this behavior is reflected in their dealings
with other countries.
"If the Middle East were democratized, then the issue of defense
and security and territories as defense assets would be irrelevant.
But Israel is facing, in fact around a 360 degree periphery, we're
facing non-democratic regimes. Some of them are becoming more
pluralized, like Jordan, the most advanced Arab society moving
towards greater pluralism.... but on balance we have an
undemocratic neighborhood. And opposite non-democracies, the only
way you can maintain peace is by maintaining your strength to deter
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