Sunday, February 13, 2011

If I were the Prime Minister of Israel...

Message to the People of Egypt

My dear neighbors and partners in peace. I first want to congratulate you for your courageous and successful stand for democracy. Your rapid achievement in taking the first steps towards that goal is truly remarkable. As a country run on democratic principles Israel welcomes this change and wishes you nothing but success in achieving your ultimate goal. We - the people Israel want to extend our hand in friendship to you and offer whatever assistance we can to help you.

We have heard and appreciate assurances that you will continue to honor the 30 year old peace treaty signed by a true Egyptian hero and visionary, Anwar Sadat. This will only enhance the achievement of your goals. If you allow us to become more proactive with you in building a lasting democracy we can do much together. We can help build the democratic institutions that will assure your future as a democracy. Whatever assistance you need that we are capable of – we are ready to help.

For the past 30 years we have had what many call a cold peace. This means that although we have a signed peace treaty and diplomatic relations there is a certain level of discontent among the citizens of Egypt with respect to Israel that has prevented the kind of cooperation between nations that could benefit both of our countries and ultimately the entire Middle East.

We understand the issues that divide us and respect your views. You have sincere compassion for your fellow Arabs - Palestinians who have suffered under our occupation. Although much of their suffering is due to our security needs we have no desire to hurt them which is an unfortunate by-product in doing what we must in order to protect ourselves. Any hardships caused by our security needs is certainly not intended but at the same time we realize that the hardships exist. We fully understand your strong sympathies to the very real plight of fellow Arabs - your Palestinian brethren.

There may continue to be differences in how to solve this decades old problem but the one thing the Israeli people can assure you is that if Israel did not have to worry about security issues from Islamist radicals who have hijacked your religion – we could have had a peace agreement a long time ago. We Israelis are tired of being under attack and hated by their neighbors. We sincerely want that to change.

Let us hope we can find a way to overcome all obstacles to peace so that Palestinians can have their own state and run their own affairs in complete peace and freedom without any fear for us of terrorist attack. The economic development that could result from a warming up of relations between ourselves and Palestinians is immeasurable. Please continue to help us fight the sole impediment to peace – Islamic radicalism.

In the meantime our two countries should go forward in friendship with a common goal to advance the democratic process and achieve the peace and prosperity that is so long overdue in this region.

Let us not miss this opportunity. Let us say No! to the naysayers – those who say we will not be on the same friendly terms with the new democracy that we were with the Mubarak regime.

Yes we were on good terms with a dictator because we had few other friends in the region to turn to. But let us not let our legitimate needs of survival stand in the way of the future.

Now as your country becomes more democratic let us increase rather than decrease our friendship. Let us warm up the peace rather than cool it off further. Let us work together to build a Middle East free of terror; where democracy will reign supreme; where all people of the region will respect one another despite our differences. Let us exploit our strengths rather than our suspicions and fears in common pursuit of peace, prosperity and happiness for all.

Once again congratulations in you momentous achievements. On behalf of the Israeli people I wish you nothing but success and the ultimate blessing of peace.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel