The Man of Sin
Jerusalem Sunset 2012
"I must work the work of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work." John9:4
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
But let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ," I Thessalonians 5:1-9
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him,
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the Mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. II Thessalonians 2:1-12
The Revelation of God
Daniel's seventieth week, couched between Shavuot and Passover
The first completed day of the last seven years of the “Age of Grace” is October 29, 2008. This last seven years is better known as the End Time Tribulation Period.
It is well known that the last seven years are equally divided into two parts, 1260 days and 1260 days. The first half is simply known as “The Tribulations” while the second half is known as the “Great Tribulations.”
Within the time period of the “Great Tribulations” there will be a time known as “Jacob’s Trouble.” This will be a time of unparalleled terror such as never has been experienced on this earth or will ever be experienced again.
While Israel will suffer greater isolation and persecution as it moves through 2013 and into 2014 it will pale in comparison to what they will experience after September 25, 2014 right up until September 23, 2015. America will also experience greater catastrophic calamities right up until the time that the nation is completely destroyed.
October 29, 2008 is also the exact day of the nationally-broadcast campaign by the presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. This infomercial reached tens of millions of viewers with a message of “America, the time for change has come.”
Fast forwarding 1260 days, according to the prophet Daniel, brings us to April 10 2012, which is also the last day of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period.
Where April 10 and 11 meet is also the middle of the Jewish Passover, coincidence? Not hardly. April 11, 2012 is the first day of the last 3 ½ years, which is known as the Great Tribulation.
Fast forwarding 1260 days, according to the prophet Daniel, brings us to the evening of Yom Kippur on September 22. Even though Yom Kippur is on September 23, 2015, according to Jewish reckoning, around the world, the Holy Day begins on the evening of the preceding day, which would be on the evening of the 22nd, Jerusalem time.
Yom Kippur 2015 will also be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Is this another coincidence, that Barack Obama would touch another one of the seven Jewish feast days described in the 23rd chapter of the book of Leviticus? Not really. Satan was cast out of heaven on April 11, 2012 and entered into the Anti-Christ and has a message of peace and unity.
There were also astrological and seismic signs displayed that indicated that April 11was a prophetic date, not only in 2012, but in other years as well. As I have time I will cover these signs more fully on the web site page “Signs” under the Content Menu.
The world will disregard the warning that on April 11, 2012 the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan because he has deceived the whole world. The masses of church members will reject the warning, especially in America, because they are under a great end-time delusion that the Church will never have to suffer any of the tribulations because God will rapture them before they have to endure any real hardship.
Thank God there will be a catching away of the living saint’s that are still alive when the Rapture takes place. God also tells us that all that have kept the word of His patience, He will also keep them from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. This temptation could be the numbering system or the mark of the beast that will surely come about as the monetary system fails throughout the world.
There is nowhere in the Bible that says that believers in Christ must be removed from earth before the Anti-Christ appears. However, the Bible does give us a number of clues how to recognize the Antichrist. Christ also gave us graphic sign’s that would be prevalent, just prior to His Second Coming. The world in general is completely oblivious to the Second Coming of Christ because of total spiritual blindness.
The greater part of Christendom has the view of Christ’s return obscured by a delusional teaching that the Lord cannot return at the Second Coming until 7 years after the Rapture. Most believers in Christ just take the word of their leaders as the Gospel truth without taking the time to search the scriptures for themselves. Even easier, they will just buy a book or a video tape that teaches a painless Gospel with the Lord just heaping material blessings upon them so they can be happy right up until He catches them away in the Rapture.
Unfortunately, most Christians spend more time and thought planning and preparing for a summer vacation than they do in preparing for eternity. This does not mean that they are not Christians, but it does put their priorities in perspective. We know, according to God’s Word, God Almighty will warn the world before the Second Advent of Christ. God’s Word gives Christians very specific warnings concerning the coming of the end-time Antichrist.
The Antichrist will be Satan’s greatest deception upon a sleeping Church that ignores the signs of the times. Satan has had almost 2000 years, as the god of this world, to prepare a plan for the man that he will use.
Many Christians have criticized the Jews for not recognizing the first coming of Christ, yet the spiritual leaders today are doing the exact same thing by ignoring the signs of the times and insisting that the Antichrist cannot come until they have been caught away.
My brethren, it is later than you think. Lay aside all of your pre-conceived theories and search the scriptures for yourself. God will continue to allow catastrophic calamities to strike America until they acknowledge the imminent return of Jesus Christ. There is much sorrow to come to the body of Christ worldwide until the day of the Rapture.
Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to morning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:8-10)
How can you not see the spiritual erosion and the physical destruction that has taken place since October 29, 2008? America is full of terrorists that are only waiting for their assignment, not to mention seemingly natural catastrophic calamities that will be labeled as coming from “Mother Nature” rather than divine judgment from an angry God.
America could once say, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12. There is much sorrow to come to America. Wake up America, your leaders have led you astray as a bird that hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Proverbs 7:23
I will begin giving you some information that should start raising red flags in your thinking process, but before you go any further into this article or anywhere on this web site please take a few minutes to ask the Holy Spirit to gird up the loins of your mind and give you ears to hear and a heart to understand, for Christ’s sake.
Some basic characteristics of the Antichrist:
He will be a mortal man.
He will rise out of a gentile nation.
He will rise to power quickly.
He will be charismatic.
He will be a great orator.
He will understand dark sentences.
He will be different from his predecessors.
He will be a master of deceit.
He will be very intelligent.
He will be proud.
He will be arrogant.
He will captivate the minds and support of celebrities, stars and intellectuals.
He will cause people to worship him in their heart.
He will cause the multitudes to support his causes.
He will have a bloodline that will trace back to the Assyrian Empire.
He will oppose the truth while mocking God’s Word.
He will possess great power, but not of his own.
He will be the leader of the greatest nation that has ever existed.
He will be the head of the most powerful army that has ever existed.
He will be in control of the largest economy that has ever existed.
He will change laws and times.
He will preach a universal message of peace, hope, change.
He will profess to be a Christian.
He will be a Muslim.
He will be an advocate for Islam.
He will be likened to Nimrod in opposing God's established rule.
He will be the last World Leader to oppose God's moral code.
He will promote immoral behavior in society.
He will be as Judas Iscariot, never knowing that Satan has entered into him.
He will destroy many through his policy, beginning in The Land of Ham.
He will persecute and kill Christians and Jews through his minions before the end.
He will reign from Babylon the Great.
He will lead the nations to fight against Christ at His Second Coming.
“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. Daniel 8:24-25
A.W. Pink, an English Christian Evangelist born in the nineteeth century listed from the Holy Scriptures some names that could easily describe the person of Anti-Christ.
The Bloody and Deceitful Man-Psalm 5:6
The Man of the Earth-Psalm 10:18
The Mighty Man-Palm 52:1
The Enemy-Psalm 55:3
The Adversary-Psalm 74-8
The Head Over Many Countries-Psalm 110:6
The Violent Man-Psalm 140:1
The Assyrian-Isa 10:5 & 12
The King of Babylon-Isa 14:4
The Son of the Morning- Isa 14:12
The Abominable Branch Isa 14:19
The Spoiler-Isa 16:4
The Branch of the Terrible Ones-Ezk 21: 25-27
The King of Tyre-Ezk 28:12
The Little (i.e., “Younger”) Horn-Daniel 7:8
The Coming Prince-Dan 9:26
The Vile Person-Dan 11:21
The Willful King -Dan 11:36
The Idol Shepherd Zech-11:16-17
The Man of Sin, Son of Perdition-11 Thess 2:3
The Wicked One-11 Thess 2:8
The Lawless One-11 Thess 2:8 (RSV), vs. 9
The Antichrist-1 John 2:22
The Angel of the Bottomless Pit-Rev. 9:11
The Beast-Rev. 11:7
So, we can all see from the Holy scriptures that the Bible is by no means silent about the person of Anti-Christ. This is not the spirit of antichrist spoken about in I John 2:18 as well as in I John 4:3.
While these scriptures do tell us that there are many antichrists in the world, there is only one Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ is a mortal man that will be indwelt by Satan for the last three and a half years prior to the Second Advent of Christ.
This man known as Anti-Christ will serve for the first three and a half years of his seven year reign on his own merits and simple inspiration and direction of the god of this world, better known as Satan. In the middle of his reign, Satan will enter into to his body just as he entered into Judas Iscariot.
These are the only two men in the Bible that Satan himself enters into. Because the world is living in an age of deception, in the last days most people, saved and unsaved, will either not recognize Anti-Christ or they will not be willing to bring themselves to the fact that they have been deceived by this man that only talked about peace and equal rights.
This is a man that through peace and his foreign policy will set on fire the Middle East, he will incite Muslims world-wide by being an apologist for Islam while professing to be a practicing Christian. This man that Satan has prepared for the finale of human history on this side of the Second Advent of Christ will be Satan's greatest deception on mankind.
In reality, this mortal man will be Satan incarnate. Satan personified. Satan through this man's body will bring division, destruction and disaster. He will equip with arms, train and encourage soldiers of Islam that Islam is a great religion of peace that guides his convictions.
He will in the end be the force behind the attempt to annhilate the Jewish state, but will be destroyed when he is met by the Prince of Princes, the long awaited Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. Who is this man? Certainly God not only knows who this man is, but He will use this man to fulfill His Holy will and His divine purpose.
The internet seems to be lit up with a lot of speculations about President Obama. Some feel that he is like an Anti-Christ, but not actually the Anti-Christ. Some say that he is absolutely the Anti-Christ and they seem to have amassed some compelling facts from his past activities.
Joined with his past, we have his and his administrations current immoral behavior concerning same-sex marriage, Planned Parenthood endorsements and his continued actions and alliances with Israel's enemies.
There are some Rabbi's and Bible researcher's that are even claiming that hidden codes within the text of the Bible point to him as the Anti-Christ.
On the other hand again, There are some well known Christian leaders-televangelist/Pastors/Teachers and author's of numerous prophetic books, that say President Obama could not be the Anti-Christ because the Church has to be in Heaven before the Anti-Christ can be revealed.
Well, these of course are the ones that hold to the belief that there will be a pre-tribulation rapture. Then there is the mid-tribulation, pre-wrath and post-tribulation rapture theories.
These are all good Christian men and women that love the Lord and have studied more than most of us, but they all can't be right and they all can't be wrong.
One thing I can assure believer's of is this, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 5:9
Believers in Jesus Christ are not subject to the wrath of God and all true believers in Christ have that promise from the Word of God.
Nevertheless, that does not negate the clear biblical truth that believers will continually be subjected to the wrath of Satan.
He is full of wrath because his time of imprisonment for1000 years during the Millennial reign of Christ is right in front of him. We can see Satan's fury everyday in the events that are taking place mostly in the Middle East and beyond.
Fortunately, the Lord gave so many remarkable signs to warn His people about His Second Advent, that even a fool could not err from the truth when exposed to the daily news.
God has chosen many methods to warn His people. He gave His Word to enlighten us in our daily living as well as the promise of His continued presence to alert us to impending dangers.
He gives us celestial warnings from the heavens, such as by the sun, the moon and the stars. He gives us warnings through catastrophic calamities that are coming upon the earth.
He gives us warnings through disruption from under the earth such as earthquakes and volcanoes.
He gives us warnings through corrupt and immoral societies, uprising peoples and power hungry rulers.
If we look just at the signs that Jesus gave us in the great Olivet discourse, the teachings of the Apostle Paul as well as the warnings of all the Old Testament prophets about the last days, we should be able to summarize pretty quickly how close we are to the end time finale.
“Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” Proverbs 8:14-16
“Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;” Jeremiah 51:20
Many shall be purified, and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand., Daniel 12:10
Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdon: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
Obama's speech in Cairo: June 04, 2009
I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions.
For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt.
I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum
We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world- tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate.
The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars.
More recently, tensions has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.
Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.
Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small put potent minority of Muslims.
The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitable hostile not only to American and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust
So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.
I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.
Instead, they overlap, and share common principles- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and dignity of all human beings.
I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point.
But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors.
There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground.
As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do- to speak the truth the best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.
Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims.
As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.
As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam- at places like Al-Azhar University- that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment.
It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of ones and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation.
And through history, Islam has demonstrated though words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and radical equality.
I know too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.
They have fought in our wars, served in governments, stood for civil rights, started businesses taught at Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim- American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers-Thomas Jefferson- kept in this personal library.
So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.
But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.
The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that there world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire.
We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words-within our boarders, and around the world.
We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."
Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique.
The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores- that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and Over 1,200 mosques within our borders.
That is why the U.S government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.
Over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.
Over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.
So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations- to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.
Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people.
These needs will be met only if we act bodily in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.
For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attacks rises for all nations.
When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.
This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given
our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it.
Our problem must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.
That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.
The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.
In Ankara, I made clear that America is not- and never will be- at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security.
Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.
The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support.
We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the event of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed b=nearly 3,000 people on that day.
The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder
these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale.
They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are fact =s to be dealt with.
Make no mistake: we do not want to keep out troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women.
It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.
That’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken.
Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths more than any other, they have killed Muslims.
Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam.
The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.
The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism- it is an important part of promoting peace.
We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who
have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.
Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world.
Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.
Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater will be."
Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future- and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources.
Iraq's sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat bridges by next August.
That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically- elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012.
We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country.
The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals.
We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.
So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of the law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will safer.
The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.
Americans strong bond with Israel are well known. This bond in unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich.
Six million Jews were killed- more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.
Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction- or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews-is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinians people-Muslims and Christians- have suffered in pursuit of homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in
refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations- large and small- that come with occupation.
So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinians people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.
For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive.
It is easy to point fingers- for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond.
But if we see this conflict only from one side or other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires.
The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them- and all of us- to live up to our responsibilities.
Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed.
For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding.
This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor
power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.
Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people.
Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s.
The Unites States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society.
And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank.
Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinians people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
Finally, the Arab States must recognize the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab
nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs.
We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.
Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Israel, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.
The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us.
In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made
it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.
It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect.
But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reaches a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests.
It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.
I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.
That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.
And any nation- including Iran- should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.
The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.
I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq.
So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle on its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people.
America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.
But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose.
Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.
There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure.
Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law- abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them.
And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments- provided they govern with respect for all their people.
This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others.
No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and legitimate workings of the political process above your party.
Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.
The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.
Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.
I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today.
People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.
Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one’s own faith by the rejection of another’s.
The richness of religious diversity must be upheld- whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.
Freedom of religion is central to the ability of people to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it.
For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation.
That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.
Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit- for instance, by dictating
what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretense of liberalism.
Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
That is why welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s Interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations.
Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action- whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.
The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.
I know there is a debate about the issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.
And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam.
In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.
Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity- men and women – to reach their full potential.
I do not believe that women mustmake the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles.
But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim- majority county to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.
Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.
I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence.
Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations- including my own- this change can bring fear.
Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities- those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our tradition, and our faith.
But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition.
Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim- majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai.
In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.
This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained whole young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader
development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas.
I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.
On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities.
And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.
On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim- majority countries.
And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.
On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs.
We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops.
And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnership with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.
All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.
The issues that I have described will not be easy to address.
But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek- a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God’s children are respected.
Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.
I know there are many- Muslim and non-Muslim- who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress.
Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort- that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust.
But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country- you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time.
The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort- a sustained effort- to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries.
And I will host a summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and the Muslim communities around the world.
On Science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs.
We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops.
And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnership with the Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.
All these must be done in partnership.
Americans are ready to join with citizens and government; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.
The issues that I have described will not be easy to address.
But we have a responsibility to join together or behalf of the world we seek-a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and America troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God’s children are
respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.
The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek – a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected.
Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.
I know that there are many – Muslim and non-Muslim- who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress.
Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort – that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash.
Many more are skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much distrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward.
And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this this world.
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share.
But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
This truth transcends nations and people – a belief that isn’t new; that black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle
of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.
We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.
The Holy Koran tells us, “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”
The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”
The Holy Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that it is God’s vision. Now, that must be our work on Earth. And may God’s peace be upon you.
Barack Obama’s speech in Jerusalem March 21, 2013
Shalom. It is a honor to be here with you in Jerusalem, and I am so grateful for the welcome that I have received from the people of Israel.
I bring with me support of the American people, and the friendship that binds us together.
Over the last two days, I have reaffirmed the bonds between our countries with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres.
I have borne witness to the ancient history of the Jewish people at the shrine of the Book, and I have seen Israel’s shining future in your scientists and entrepreneurs.
This is a nation of museums and patents, timeless Holy sites and ground-breaking innovation. Only in Israel could you see the Dead Sea scrolls and the place where the technology on board the Mars Rover originated.
But what I’ve looked forward to the most is the ability to speak directly to you, the Israeli people- especially so many young people – about the history that brought us here today, and the future that you will make in the years to come.
Now I know that in Israel’s vibrant democracy, every word and gesture is carefully scrutinized. But just so you know, any drama between me and my friend Bibi over the years was just a plot to create material for Eretz Nehederet.
I also know that I come to Israel on the eve of a sacred holiday-the celebration of Passover. And that is where I would like to begin today.
Just a few days from now, Jews here in Israel and around the world sit with family and friends at the Seder table, and celebrate with songs, wine and symbolic foods.
After enjoying Seders with family and friends in Chicago and on campaign trail, I’m proud to have brought this tradition into the White House.
I did so because I wanted my daughters to experience the Haggadah, and the story at the centre of Passover that makes this time of year so powerful.
It is a story of centuries of slavery, and years of wandering in the desert; a story of perseverance amidst persecution, and faith in God and the Torah.
It is a story about finding freedom in your own land. For the Jewish people, this story is central to who you have become. But it is also a story that holds within it the universal human experience, with all of its suffering and salvation.
It is a part of the three great religions- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam- that trace their origins to Abraham, and see Jerusalem as sacred.
And it is a story that has inspired communities around the globe, including me and my fellow Americans.
In the United States- a nation made up of people who crossed oceans to start anew- we are naturally drawn to the idea of finding freedom in our land.
To African-Americans, the story of Exodus told a powerful tale about emerging from the grip of bondage to reach for liberty and human dignity- a tale that was carried from slavery through the civil rights movement.
For generations, this promise helped people weather poverty and persecution, while holding on to the hope that a better day was on the horizon.
For me personally, growing up in far-flung parts of the world and without firm roots, it spoke to a yearning within every human being for a home.
Of course, even as we draw strength from the story of God’s will and His gift of freedom expressed on Passover, we know that here on Earth we must bear our responsibilities in an imperfect world.
That means accepting our measure of sacrifice and struggle, and working-through generation after generation- on behalf of that ideal of freedom. As Dr. Marin Luther King said on the day before he was killed-“I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know that…we, as people, will get to the promised land.”So just as Joshua carried on after Moses, the work goes on-for justice and dignity; for opportunity and freedom.
For the Jewish people, the journey to the promise of the State of Israel wound through countless generations. It involved centuries of suffering and exile, prejudice, pogroms and even genocide.
Through it all, the Jewish people sustained their unique identity and traditions, as well as a longing to return home.
And while Jews achieved extraordinary success in many parts of the world, the dream of true freedom finally found its full expression in the Zionist idea- to be a free people in your homeland.
That is why I believe that Israel is rooted not just in history and tradition, but also in a simple and profound idea: the idea that people deserve to be free in a land of their own.
And over the last 65 years, when Israel has been at its best, Israeli’s have demonstrated that responsibility does not end when you reach the promised land, it only begins.
And so Israel has been a refuge for the diaspora- welcoming Jews from Europe to the former Soviet Union; from Ethiopia to North Africa.
Israel has built a prosperous nation- though kibbutzeem that made the desert bloom, business that broadened the middle class, and innovators who reached new frontiers- from the smallest microchip to the orbits of space.
Israel has established a thriving democracy- with a spirited civil society, proud political parties, a tireless free press, and a lively public debate- lively may even be an understatement.
And Israel has achieved this even as it has overcome relentless threats to its security- through the courage of the Israel Defense Forces, and a citizenry that is resilient in the face of terror.
This is the story of Israel. This is the work that has brought the dreams of so many generations to life. And every step of the way, Israel has built unbreakable bonds of friendship with the United States of America.
Those ties began only eleven minutes after Israeli independence, when the United States was the first nation to recognize Israel,”I believe it has a glorious future before it not just as another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”
Since then, we have built a friendship that advances our shared interests. Together, we share a commitment to security for our citizens and the stability of the Middle East and North Africa.
Together, we share a focus on advancing economic growth around the globe, and strengthening the middle class within our countries. Together, we share a stake in the success of democracy.
But the source of our friendship extends beyond interests, just as it has transcended political parties and individual leaders.
America is a nation of immigrants. We are strengthened by diversity. We are enriched by faith. We are governed not simply by men or women, but by laws. We are fueled by entrepreneurship and innovation.
And we are defined by a democratic discourse that allows each generation to reimagine and renew out union once more.
So in Israel, we see values that we share, even as we recognize what makes us different.
Yet I stand here today mindful that for both out nations, there are complicated times. We have difficult issues to work through within out countries, and we face danger and upheaval in the world.
When I look at the young people within the United States, I think about the choices that they must make in their lives to define who we will be as a nation in this 21st century, particularly as we emerge from two wars and a painful recession.
No matter how great the challenges are, their idealism, their energy, and their ambition always gives me hope.
I see the same spirit in young people here today. And given the ties between our countries; I believe your future is bound to ours.
So I’d like to focus on how we can work together to make progress in three areas that will define our times: security,peace, and prosperity.
I will begin with security. I am proud that the security relationship between the United States and Israel has never been stronger: more exercises between our militaries, and more exchanges among our political, military and intelligence officials than ever before; the largest program to date to help you retain your qualitative military edge.
Those are the facts. But to me, this is not simply measured on the balanced sheet. I know that here, in Israel, security is something personal. So let me tell you what I think about when I consider these issues.
When I consider Israel’s security, I think about children like Osher Twito, who I met in Sderot-children, the same age as my own daughters, who went to bed at night fearful that a rocket would land in their bedroom simply because of who they are and where they live.
That’s why we’ve invested in the Iron Dome system to save countless lives- because those children deserve to sleep better at night.
That’s why we have made it clear, time and again, that Israel cannot accept rocket attacks from Gaza, and have stood up for Israel’s right to defend itself.
And that’s why Israel has a right to expect Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
I think about five Israelis who boarded a bus in Bulgaria, who were blown up because of where they came from; who were robbed of the ability to live, and love, and raise families.
That’s why every country that values justice should call Hizbollah what it truly is- a terrorist organization.
Because the world cannot tolerate an organization that murders innocent civilians, stockpiles rockets to shoot at cities, and supports the massacre of men, woman and children in Syria.
The fact that Hizbollah’s ally- the Assad regime- has stockpiles of chemical weapons only heightens the urgency.
We will continue to cooperate closely to guard against that danger. And I have made it clear to Bashar al-Assad and all who follow his orders: we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people or the transfer of these weapons to terrorists. The world is watching, and we will hold you accountable.
America will also insist that the Syrian people have the right to be freed from the grip of a dictator who would rather kill his own people than relinquish power.
Assad must go so that Syria’s future can begin. Because true stability in Syria depends upon establishing a government that is responsive to its people-one that protects all communities within its borders, while making peace with countries beyond them.
When I consider Israel’s security, I also think about a people who have a living memory of the Holocoust, faced with the prospect of a nuclear- armed Iranian government that has called for Israel’s destruction.
It’s no wonder Israelis view this as an existential threat. But this is not simply a challenge for Israel-it is a danger for the entire world, including the United Stated.
It would raise the risk of nuclear terrorism, undermine the non-proliferation regime, spark an arms race in a volatile region, and embolden a government that has shown no respect for the rights of its own people or the responsibilities of nations.
That is why America has built a coalition to increase the cost to Iran of failing to meet their obligations. The Iranian government is now under more pressure than ever before, and that pressure is increasing. It is isolated.
Its economy is in a dire condition. Its leadership is divided. And its position- in the region, and the world- has only grown weaker.
All of us have an interest in resolving this issue peacefully. Strong and principled diplomacy is the best way to ensure that the Iranian government forsakes nuclear weapons.
Moreover, peace is far more preferable to war, and the inevitable costs-and unintended consequences-that would come with it. Because of the cooperation between our governments, we know that there remains time to pursue a diplomatic resolution.
That is what America will do-with clear eyes-working with a world that is united, and with the sense of urgency that is required.
But Iran must know this time is not unlimited. And I have made the position of the United States of America clear: Iran must not get a nuclear weapon.
This is not danger that can be contained. As President, I have said to the world that all options are on the table for achieving our objectives. America will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
For young Israelis, I know that these issues of security are rooted in an experience that is even more fundamental than the pressing threat of the day.
You live in a neighborhood where many of your neighbors have rejected your right to exist. Your grandparents had to risk their lives and all they had to make a place for themselves in this world.
Your parents lived through war after war to ensure the survival of the Jewish state. Your children grow up knowing that people they have never met hate them because of who they are, in a region that is changing underneath your feet.
So that is what I think about when Israel is faced with these challenges-that sense of an Israel that is surrounded by many in this region who reject it, and many in the world who refuse to accept it.
That is why the security of the Jewish people in Israel is so important-because it can never be taken for granted.
But make no mistake: those who adhere to the ideology of rejecting Israel’s right to exist might as well reject the earth beneath them and the sky above, because Israel is not going anywhere.
Today, I want to tell you- particularly the young people-that so long as there is a United States of America, Ah-tem lo lah-vahd meaning: you are not alone.
The question, then, is what kind of future Israel will look forward to. And that brings me to the subject of peace.
I know Israel has taken risks for peace. Brave leaders- Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin- reach treaties with two of your neighbors.
You made credible proposals to the Palestinians at Annapolis. You withdrew from Gaza and Lebanon, and then faced terror and rockets. Across the region, you have extended a hand of friendship, and too often have been confronted with the ugly reality of anti-Semitism.
So I believe that the Israeli people do want peace, and you have every right to be skeptical that it can be achieved.
But today, Israel is at a crossroads. It can be tempting to put aside the frustrations and sacrifices that come with the pursuit of peace-particularly when an Iron Dome repels rockets, barriers keep out suicide bombers, and so many other pressing issues demand your attention.
And I know that only Israelis can make the fundamental decisions about your country’s future.
I also know that not everyone in this hall will agree with what I have to say about peace. I recognize that there are those who are not simply skeptical about peace, but question its underlying premise, and that’s a part of democracy and the discourse between our two countries.
But it is important to be open and honest with one another. Politically, given the strong bipartisan support for Israel in America, the easiest thing for me to so would be to put this issue aside, and express unconditional support for whatever Israel decides to do.
But I want you to know that I speak to you as a friend who is deeply concerned and committed to your future, and I ask you to consider three points.
First, peace is necessary. Indeed, it is the only path to true security. You can be the generation that permanently secures the Zionist dream, or you can face a growing challenge to its future.
Given the demographics west of Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.
Given the frustration in the international community, Israel must reserve an undertow of isolation.
And given the march of technology, the only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war-because no wall is high enough, and no Iron Dome is strong enough, to stop every enemy from inflicting harm.
This truth is more pronounced given the changes sweeping the Arab world. I recognize that with the uncertainty in the region-people in the streets, changes in leadership, the rise of non-secular parties in politics-it is tempting to turn inward.
But this is precisely the time to respond to the wave of revolution with a resolve for peace. As more governments respond to popular will, the days when Israel could seek peace with a handful of autocratic leaders are over.
Peace must be made among peoples, not just governments. No one step can change overnight what lies in the hearts and minds of millions. But progress with the Palestinians is a powerful way to begin, while sidelining extremists who thrive on conflict and division.
Second, peace is just. There is no question that Israel has faced Palestinians factions who turned to terror, and leaders who missed historic opportunities.
That is why security must be at the center of any agreement. And there is no question that the only path to peace is through negotiations.
That is why, despite the criticism we’ve received, the United States will oppose unilateral efforts to bypass negotiations through the United Nations.
But the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized. Put yourself in their shoes-look at the world through their eyes.
It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movement of her parents every single day.
It is not just when settler violence against Palestinian families from their home. Neither occupation not expulsion is the answer. Just as Israeli’s built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be free people in their own land.
Only you can determine what kind of democracy you will have. But remember that as you make these decisions, you will define not simply the future of your relationship with the Palestinians-you will define the future of Israel as well.
As Ariel Sharon said,”It is impossible to have a Jewish, democratic state and at the same time to control all of Eretz Israel. If we in insist on fulfilling the dream in its entirety, we are liable to lose it all.”
Or, from a different perspective, think of what David Grossman said shortly after losing his son, as he described the necessity of peace-“a peace of no choice” he said,”must be approached with the same determination and creativity as one approaches a war of no choice.”
Of course, Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with anyone who is dedicated to its destruction. But while I know you have had differences with the Palestinian Authority, I believe that you do have a true partner in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad.
Over the last few years, they have built institutions and maintained security on the West Bank in ways that few would have imagined a decade ago. So many Palestinians-including young people-have rejected violence as a means of achieving their aspirations.
Which leads to my third point: peace is possible. I know it doesn’t seem that way. There will always be a reason to avoid risk, and there’s a cost for failure. There will always be extremists who provide an excuse to not act.
And there is something exhausting about endless talk about talks; the daily controversies, and grinding status quo.
Negotiations will be necessary, but there is little secret about where they must lead-two states for two peoples.
There will be differences about how to get there, and hard choices along the way. Arab States must adapt to a world that has changed.
The days when they could condemn Israel to distract their people from a lack of opportunity are over. Now is the time for the Arab world to take steps toward normalized relations with Israel.
Meanwhile, Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be Jewish state, and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security.
Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, and that an independent Palestine must be viable-that real borders will have to be drawn.
I’ve suggested principles on territory and security that I believe can be the basis for talks.
But for the moment, put aside the plans and process. I ask you, instead, to think about what can be done to build trust between people.
Four years ago, I stood in Cairo in front of an audience of young people. Politically, religiously, they must seem a world away. But the things they want- they’re not so different from you.
The ability to make their own decisions; to get an education and a good job; to worship God in their own way; to get married and have a family.
The same is true of the young Palestinians that I met in Ramallah this morning, and of young Palestinians who yearn for a better life in Gaza.
That is where peace begins-not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of people; not just in a carefully designed process, but in the daily connections that take place among those who live together in this land, and in this sacred city of Jerusalem.
Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.
I know this is possible. Look to the bridges being built in business and civil society by some of you here today.
Look at young people who have not yet learned a reason to mistrust, and those who have to learned to overcome a legacy of mistrust that they inherited from their parents because of the simple recognition that we hold more hopes in common that the fear that drives us apart.
Your voices must be louder that the extremists who would drown them out. Your hopes must light the way forward.
Look to a future in which Jews, Muslims and Christians call all live in peace and greater prosperity in this Holy Land. Look to the future that you want for your own children-a future in which a Jewish, democratic state is protected and accepted, for this time and for all time.
There will be many voices that say this change is not possible. But remember this: Israel is the most powerful country in this region.
Israel has the unshakeable support of the most powerful country in the world. Israel has the wisdom to see the world as it is, but also the courage to see the world as it should be.
Ben Gurion once said,”In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” Sometimes, the greatest miracle is recognizing that the world can change. After all, that is a lesson that the world learned from the Jewish people.
That brings me to the final area I will focus on: prosperity, and Israel’s broader role in the world.
I know that all the talk about security and peace can seem distant from other concerns that you have in your daily lives. And every day, even amidst the threats you face, Israelis are defining themselves by opportunities you create.
Through talent and hard work, Israelis have put this small country at the forefront of the global economy.
Israelis understand the value of education, and have produced 10 Nobel laureates. Israelis understand the power of invention, and your universities educate engineers and inventors.
That spirit has led economic growth and human progress: solar power and electric cars; bandages and prosthetic limbs that save lives; stem cell research and new drugs that treat disease; cell phones and computer technology that change the way we live.
If people want to see the future of the world economy, they should look at Tel-Aviv: home to hundreds of start-ups and research centers. And Israelis are so active on social media that every day seemed to bring a different Facebook campaign about where I should give this speech.
That innovation is just as important to the relationship between the United States and Israel as out security cooperation. Our first free trade agreement in the world was reached with Israel nearly three decades ago, and today the trade between our two countries is at 40 billion dollars each year.
More importantly, that partnership is creating new products and medical treatments, and pushing new frontiers of science and exploration.
That is the kind of relationship that Israel should have-and could have-with every country in the world. Already, we see how that innovation could reshape this region.
One program here in Jerusalem brings together young Israelis and Palestinians to learn vital skills in technology and business. An Israeli and Palestinian have started a venture capital fund finance Palestinian start-ups.
Over 100 high-tech companies have found a home on the West Bank, which speaks to the talent and entrepreneurial spirit of the Palestinian people.
One of the great ironies of what is happening is the broader region is that so much of what people are yearning for-education and entrepreneurship; the ability to start a business without paying a bribe, to connect to the global economy-those things can be found in Israel.
This should be a hub for thriving regional trade, and an engine of opportunity. And this is already a center for innovation that helps power the global economy. I believe that all of that potential for prosperity can be enhanced with greater security, and a lasting peace.
Here, is this small strip of land that has been the center of so much tragedy and triumph, Israelis have built something that few could imagine sixty-five years ago.
Tomorrow, I will pay tribute to that history-at the grave of Herzl, a man who had the foresight to see that the future of the Jewish people had to be reconnected to their past; at the grave of Rabin, who understood that Israeli’s victories in war had to be follows by battles for peace; and at Yad Vashem, where the world is reminded of the cloud of evil that can descend on the Jewish people and all humanity if we fail to remain ever vigilant.
We bear that history on our shoulders, and we carry it in our hearts. Today, as we face the twilight of Israel’s founding generation, you-the young people of Israel-must now claim the future. It falls to you write the next chapter in the story of this great nation.
As the President of a country that you can count on as your greatest friend, I am confident that you can help us find the promise in the days that lie ahead.
And as a man who has been inspired in my own life by that timeless calling within the Jewish experience-tikkun olam- I am hopeful that we can draw upon what’s best in ourselves to meet the challenges that will come; to win the battles for peace in the wake of so much war; and to do the work of repairing this world.
May God bless you, and may God bless Israel and the United States of America. Toda raba.
United Nations General Assembly Hall
New York City, New York
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: We come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope.
Around the globe, there are signposts of progress. The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted, and the prospect of war between major powers reduced.
The ranks of member states have more than tripled, and more people live under governments they elected. Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty, with the proportion of those living in extreme poverty cut in half.
And the world economy continues to strengthen after the worst financial crisis of our lives.
Today, whether you live in downtown Manhattan or in my grandmother’s village more than 200 miles from Nairobi, you can hold in your hand more information than the world’s greatest libraries.
Together, we’ve learned how to cure disease and harness the power of the wind and the sun. The very existence of this institution is a unique achievement-- the people of the world committing to resolve their differences peacefully, and to solve their problems together.
I often tell young people in the United States that despite the headlines, this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, to be free to pursue your dreams.
And yet there is a pervasive unease in our world-- a sense that the very forces that have brought us together have created now dangers and made it difficult for any single nation to insulate itself from global forces.
As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa and threatens to move rapidly across borders.
Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nation trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition. The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness.
Each of these problems demands urgent attention. But they are also symptoms of broader problem – the failure of our international system to keep pace with an interconnected world.
We, collectively, have not invested adequately in the public health capacity of developing countries. Too often, we have failed to enforce international norms when it’s inconvenient to do so.
And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe.
Fellow delegates, we come together as united nations with a choice to make. We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or we can allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability.
We can reaffirm our collective responsibility to confront global problems, or be swamped by more and more outbreaks of instability. And for America, the choice is clear: We choose hope over fear.
We see the future not as something out of control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes human affairs.
We choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.
There is much that must be done to meet the test of this moment. But today I’d like to focus on two defining questions at the root of so many of our challenges – whether the nations here today will be able to renew the purpose of the UN’s founding; and whether we will come together to reject the cancer of violent extremism.
First, all of us – big nations and small – must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms. We are here because others realized that we gain more from cooperation than conquest.
One hundred years ago, a World War claimed the lives of many millions, proving that with the terrible power of modern weaponry, the cause of empire ultimately leads to the grave yard.
It would take another World War to roll back the forces of fascism, the nation’s racial supremacy, and form this Untied Nations to ensure that no nation can subjugate its neighbors and claim their territory.
Recently, Russia’s actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order. Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protest and calls for reform, their corrupt president fled.
Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands.
When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days.
When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.
This is a vision to the world in which might makes right – a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed.
America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might – that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future.
And these are simple truths. But they must be defended. America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy.
We will reinforce our NATO Allies and uphold our commitment to collective self-defense. We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and we will counter falsehoods with the truth.
And we call upon others to join us on the right side of history – for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and people to make their own decision.
Moreover, a different path is available – the path of diplomacy and peace, and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold.
The recent cease-fire agreement in Ukraine offers an opening to achieve those objectives. If Russia takes that path – a path that for stretches of the post-Cold War period resulted in prosperity for the Russian people – then we will lift our sanctions and welcome Russia’s role in addressing common challenges.
After all, that’s what the United States and Russia have been able to do in past years – from reducing our nuclear stockpiles to meeting our obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treat, to cooperating to remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons.
And that’s the kind of cooperation we are prepared to pursue again – Russia changes course.
This speaks to a central question of our global age – whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, or whether we descend into the destructive rivalries of the past.
When nations find common ground, not simply based on power, but on principle, then we can make enormous progress. And I stand before you today committed to investing American strength to working with all l nations to address the problems we face in the 21st century.
As we speak, America is deploying our doctors and scientists – supported by our military – to help contain the outbreak of Ebola and pursue new treatments.
But we need a broader effort to stop a disease that could kill hundreds of thousands, inflict horrific suffering, destabilized economies, and move rapidly across borders.
It’s easy to see this as a distant problem – until it is not. And that is why we will continue to mobilize other countries to joins us in making concrete commitments, significant commitments to fight this outbreak, and enhance our system of global health security for the long term.
America is pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as part of our commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them.
And this can only take place if Iran seizes this historic opportunity. My message to Iran’s leaders and people has been simple and consistent: Do not let this opportunity pass. We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful.
America is committed to development agenda that eradicates extreme poverty by 2030. We will do our part to help people feed themselves, power their economies, and care for their sick.
If the world acts together, we can make sure that all of our children enjoy lives of opportunity and dignity.
America is pursuing ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions, and we’ve increased our investments in clean energy. We will do our parts, and help developing nations do theirs.
But the science tells us we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every other nation, by every major power. That’s how we can protect this planet for our children and our grandchildren.
In other words, on issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule book written for a different century.
If we lift our eyes beyond our borders – if we think globally and if we act cooperatively – we can shape the course of this century, as our predecessors shaped the past – World War 11 age.
But as we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail so much progress, and that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so ;many parts of the Muslim world.
Of course, terrorism is not new. Speaking before this Assembly, President Kennedy put it well: “Terror is not a new weapon,” he said, “ Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example.”
In the 20th century, terror was used by all manner of groups who failed to come to power through public support. But in this century, we have faced a more lethal and ideological brand of terrorists who have perverted one of the world’s great religions.
With access to technology that allows small groups to do great harm. They have embraced a nightmarish vision that would divide the world into adherents and infidels – killing as many innocent civilians as possible, employing the most brutal methods to intimidate people within their communities.
I have made it clear that America will no base our entire foreign policy on reacting to terrorism.
Instead, we’ve waged a focused campaign against al Qaeda and its associated forces – taking out their leaders, denying them the safe heavens they rely on.
At the same lime, we have reaffirmed again and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam.
Islam teaches peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live dignity and sense of justice.
And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us – because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country.
So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations. Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate.
And it is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along the fault lines of tribe or sect, race or religion.
But this is not simply a matter of words. Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and trends that fuel their recruitment.
Moreover, this campaign against extremism goes beyond a narrow security challenge.
For while we’ve degraded methodically core al Qaeda and supported a transition to a sovereign Afghan government, extremist ideology has shifted to other places – particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where a quarter of young people have no job, where food and water could grow scarce, where corruption is rampant and sectarian conflicts have become increasingly hard to contain.
As an international community, we must meet this challenge with a focus on four areas. First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded and ultimately destroyed.
This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters, daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war.
Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death.
In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world.
No god condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil.
The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.
In this effort we don not act alone – nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands. Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities. We will use our military might in a campaign of airstrikes to roll back ISIL.
We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground. We will work to cut off their financing, and stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region.
And already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition.
Today, I ask the world to join in this effort. Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can.
Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone. For we will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build – not those who destroy. So that’s an immediate challenge, the first challenge that we must meet.
The second: It is time for the world – especially Muslim communities – to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al Qaeda and ISIL.
It is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devour faith with a modern, multicultural world. No children are born hating, and no children – anywhere – should be educated t hate other people.
There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they’re Jews, or because they’re Christian, or because they’re Muslim.
It is time for a new compact among the civilized people s of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source , and that is the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.
That means cutting off the funding that fuels this hate. It’s time to end the hypocrisy of those who accumulate wealth through the global economy and then siphon funds to those who teach children to tear it down.
That means contesting the space that terrorist occupy, including the Internet and social media. Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students – young people full of potential – into suicide bombers. We must offer an alternative vision.
That means bringing people of different faiths together. All religions have been attacked by extremists from within at some point, and all people of faith have a responsibility to lift up the value at the heart of all great religions:
Do unto thy neighbor as you would do – you would have done unto yourself.
The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day.
Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies – Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.”
Look at the young British Muslims who responded to terrorist propaganda by starting the “Not In My Name” campaign, declaring, “ISIS is hiding behind a false Islam.”
Look at the Christian and Muslims leaders who came together in the Central African Republic to reject violence; listen to the Imam who said, “Politics try to divide the religious in our country, but religion shouldn’t be a cause of hate, war, or strife.”
Later today, the Security Council will adopt a resolution that underscores the responsibility of states to counter violent extremism. But resolutions must be followed by tangible commitments, so we’re accountable when we fall short.
Next year, we should all be prepared to announce the concrete steps that we have taken counter extremist ideologies in our own countries – by getting intolerance our to schools, stopping radicalization before it spreads, and promoting institutions and programs that build new bridges of understanding.
Third, we must address the cycle of conflict – especially sectarian conflict – that creates the conditions that terrorists prey upon.
There is nothing new about wars within religions. Christianity endured centuries of vicious sectarian conflict.
Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery. It is time to acknowledge the destruction wrought by proxy wars and terror campaigns between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East.
And it is time that political, civic and religious leaders reject sectarian strife. So let’s be clear: this is a fight that no one is winning.
A brutal civil war in Syria has already killed nearly 200,000 people, displaced millions. Iraq has come perilously close to plunging back into the abyss. The conflict has created a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists who inevitably export this violence.
The good news is we also see signs that this tide could be reversed. We have a new, inclusive government in Baghdad: a new Iraqi Prime Minister welcomed by his neighbors; Lebanese factions rejecting those who try to provoke war.
And these steps must be followed by a broader truce. Nowhere is this more necessary that Syria.
Together with our partners, America is training and equipping the Syrian opposition to be counterweight to the terrorist of ISIL and the brutality of the Assad regime.
But the only lasting solution to Syria’s civil war is political – an inclusive political transition that responds to the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian citizens, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of creed.
Cynics may argue that such an outcome can never come to pass. But there is no other way for this madness to end – whether one year from now or ten.
And it points to the fact that it’s time for a broader negotiation in the region in which major powers address their differences directly, honestly, and peacefully across the table from one another, rather than though gun-wielding proxies.
I can promise you America will remain engaged in the region, and we are prepared to engage in that effort.
My fourth and final point is a simple one: The countries of the Arab and Muslim word must focus on the extraordinary potential of their people – especially the youth.
And here I’d like to speak directly to young people across the Muslim world. You come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder.
Those who call you away from this path are betraying this tradition, not defending it.
You have demonstrated that when young people have the tools to succeed – good schools, education in math and science, an economy that nurtures creativity and entrepreneurship – then societies will flourish. So America will partner with those that promote that vision.
Where women are full participants in a country’s politics or economy, societies are more likely to succeed. And that’s why we support the participation of women in parliaments and peace processes, schools and economy.
If young people live in places where the only option is between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground, then no counter terrorism strategy can succeed.
But where a genuine civil society is allowed t flourish – where people can express their views, and organize peacefully for a better life – then you dramatically expand the alternatives to terror.
And such positive change need not come at the expense of tradition and faith. We see this in Iraq, where a young man started a library for his peers. “We link Iraq’s heritage to their hearts,” he said, and “give them a reason to stay.”
We see it in Tunisia, where secular and Islamist parties worked together through a political process to produce a new constitution. We see it in Senegal, where civil society thrives alongside a strong democratic government.
We see it in Malaysia, where vibrant entrepreneurship is propelling a former colony into the ranks of advanced economies. And we see it in Indonesia, where what began as a violent transition has evolved into a genuine democracy.
Now, ultimately, the task of rejecting sectarianism and rejecting extremism is a generational task – and a task for the people of the Middle East themselves.
No external power can bring about a transformation of hears and minds. But America will be a respectful and constructive partner. We will neither tolerate terrorist safe havens, nor act as an occupying power.
We will take action against threats to our security and our allies, while building architecture of counter terrorism cooperation. We will increase efforts to lift up those who counter extremist ideologies and who seek to resolve sectarian conflict.
And we will expand our programs to support entrepreneurship and civil society, education and youth – because, ultimately, these investments are the best antidote to violence.
We recognized as well that leadership will be necessary to address the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.
As bleak as the landscape appears, America will not give up on the pursuit of peace. Understand, the situation in Iraq and Syria and Libya should cure anybody of the illusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the main source of problems in the region.
For far too long, that’s been used as an excuse to distract people from problems at home. The violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace.
And that’s something worthy of reflection within Israel.
Because let’s be clear: The status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable. We cannot afford to turn away from this effort – not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis, or the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza.
So long as I am President, we will stand up for the principle that Israelis, Palestinians, the region and the world will be more just and more safe with two states living side by side, in peace and security.
So this this what America is prepared to do: Taking action against immediate threats, while pursuing a world in which the need for such action is diminished.
The United States will never shy away from defending our interest, but we will also not shy away from the promise of this institution and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the notion that peace is not merely the absence of war, but the pr4esence of a better life.
I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within its own borders.
This is true. In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri – where a young man was killed, and a community was divided.
So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.
But we welcome the scrutiny of the world because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems, to make union more perfect, to bridge the divides that existed at the founding of this nation.
America is not the same as it was 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, or even a decade ago. Because we fight for our ideals, and we are willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short.
Because we hold our leaders accountable, and insist on a free press and independent judiciary.
Because we address our differences in the open space of democracy – with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and every religion: and with an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and their circumstances and their countries for the better.
After nearly six years as President, I believe that this promise can help light the world. Because I have seen a longing for positive change – for peace and for freedom and for opportunity and for the end to bigotry – in the eyes of young people who I’ve met around the globe.
They remind me that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what God you pray to, or who you love, there is something fundamental that we all share.
Eleanor Roosevelt, a champion of the UN and America’s role in it, once asked, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places,” she said, “close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.
Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.”
Around the world, young people are moving forward hungry for a better world. Around the world, in small places, they’re overcoming hatred and bigotry and sectarianism.
And they’re learning to respect each other, despite differences.
The people of the world now look to us, here, to be as decent, and as dignified, and as courageous as they are trying to be in their daily lives.
And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done.
We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we’re prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. I ask that you join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s.
Thank you very much.
As I have time and feel a release I will tell the startling dream I had as I walked with President Obama and the two words he spoke directly to me.
More to come: