We seek to preserve our historic ties and our historic peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. We seek to forge a durable peace with the Palestinians.
President Abbas just spoke here. I say to him and I say to you: We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. That’s not the way to solve it. We won’t solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood. We have to sit together, negotiate together, and reach a mutual compromise, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish State. Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.
Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this. They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world. Militant Islam has many branches – from the rulers of Iran with their Revolutionary Guards to Al Qaeda terrorists to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe. But despite their differences, they are all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed first at their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn’t submit to their unforgiving creed. They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict. I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness. We’ve seen that happen before. Some five hundred years ago, the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age. Eventually, ignorance gave way to enlightenment. So too, a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of freedom and technology. When this happens, our region will be guided not by fanaticism and conspiracy, but by reason and curiosity.
I think the relevant question is this: it’s not whether this fanaticism will be defeated. It’s how many lives will be lost before it’s defeated. We’ve seen that happen before too. Some 70 years ago, the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. It went down in flames. But not before it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end they triumphed, but at an horrific cost. My friends, we cannot let that happen again. At stake is not merely the future of my own country. At stake is the future of the world. Nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda. It makes no difference whether these lethal weapons are in the hands of the world’s most dangerous terrorist regime or the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. They’re both fired by the same hatred; they’re both driven by the same lust for violence. Just look at what the Iranian regime has done up till now, without nuclear weapons. In 2009, they brutally put down mass protests for democracy in their own country. Today, their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children, directly participating in this murder. They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. Before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut and in Saudi Arabia. They’ve turned Lebanon and Gaza into terror strongholds, embedding nearly 100,000 missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies. In the last year, they’ve spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents – from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They’ve even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat. And of course, Iran’s rulers repeatedly deny the Holocaust and call for Israel’s destruction almost on a daily basis, as they did again this week from the United Nations.