Wednesday, May 6, 2009
AIPAC Policy Conference: Excerpts Taken from the Words of Joe Biden
The Obama-Biden administration is committed to changing the trajectory of the country and the trajectory of the world, but one thing will not change: the commitment of the United Sates to the peace and security of Israel.
My commitment to Israel began at my father's dinner table. At my father and mother's home, we sat down to dinner to have conversation and only incidentally to eat.
As a Senator, I made my first overseas trip to Israel, which turned out to be on the eve of the Yom Kippur War.
He described a conversation with Golda Meir. She described the difficult situation of Israel, with two million people facing 60 million Arabs. While being photographed, she said he looked worried but mentioned the Jews had a secret weapon: "we have nowhere else to go."
The president and I both know we will be judged not by our commitment but by the results we wil have achieved. We believe the results we want by changing the direction of American foreign policy and restoring the ability of the United States to lead. In the Middle East, the status quo has not worked very well.
We are intensely focused on avoiding the grave danger of a nuclear armed Iran, which would make every country in the world less secure and poses an existential threat (to Israel).
Instead of arresting the danger, in the last six years the danger has grown. That is why we are attempting direct engagement with Iran. If those efforts aren't successful, we have greater international support to pursue other items.
We know we don't have unlimited time to make this assessment.
Iran has taken a role arming Hezbollah and Iran and undermining our friends. The continuing of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict strengthens Iran's destabilizing influence.
The President decided we must take risks on behalf on achieving peace for Israel.
The truth is the fact that peace has not occurred does not mean peace can not be achieved.
Progress towards peace has only been possible when people have been willing to think differently and take steps to reach peace.
You're not going to like what I'm going to say, but Israel has the responsibility (commitment under the road map) to stop building new settlements and dismantle settlements.
The world must continue to make clear to Hamas the legitimacy it wants will come only when it meets the three conditions long ago set forth.
We demand the immediate and uconditional release of Gilad Shalit.
Peace between Israel and Syria could reshape the region. Well make sure it does not come at the expense of Israel's security.
We know the path we've been on in recent years will not result in peace and security for Israel and for the Palestinians.
We know there are differences in this room over the way to move forward. The critical question is not where we stand today but what we see for tomorrow and how we can get there.
Delaying the pursuit of these goals is not an option.