Shalev: We are Adhering to Nuclear Ambiguity
Israeli ambassador to UN was guest of honour at UJA event.
Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gavriela Shalev, was the guest of honour and keynote speaker at an event organized by the UJA on May 12 at the home of Leslie Dan, honouring the major donors to the Federation. Shalev first met Canadian philanthropist Leslie Dan when they both served on the board of directors at Teva. Following the warm words by Dan which included praise for Shalev, she gave a speech in which she outlined the strategic challenges which Israel is facing.
Shalev spoke of three main challenges: the Iranian threat, the Goldstone report, and the peace process. On the Iranian issue Shalev stressed that the Iranian threat is not only directed at Israel but to the Middle East and, the entire world. She warned that beyond the threats to remove Israel from the map, Iran supports terror organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah and a grave danger exists that these terror organizations receive nuclear weapons. Regarding the international efforts to limit the distribution of nuclear weapons, Shalev said that Israel is adhering to an ambiguity policy and is willing to join a treaty regarding a nuclear restriction, so long as Israel is not under the existential threat which it has been under since its establishment.
Regarding the Goldstone report, Shalev said that it caused heavy damage to Israel and is continuing to be an incentive for the charges raised against Israel in the UN. She said that the report attacks three institutions which are “close to Israel’s heart” as she put it: Israeli democracy, the legal system, and the military. She emphasized in this connection that the IDF operated using an ethical code which directs it to avoid hurting civilians however, under the circumstances of the war this could not be guaranteed, particularly since Hamas used human shields.
On the issue of the peace process, Shalev said that all sides have made mistakes: the Americans by pressure regarding the construction in east Jerusalem, the Palestinians by sitting on the fence and the Israelis by announcing the building permits during Vice President Biden’s visit. She called the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians “a kiss through a handkerchief” and expressed hope that they will lead to direct talks, since peace must be achieved with the Palestinians and not the Americans. She clarified that Israel is prepared for talks without preconditions, on all subjects including the issues of settlements, Jerusalem, and refugees. When asked, Shalev admitted that there has been “a change in the music” in the relations between Israel and the US in light of the changes in leadership in both countries, but added that there are discussions between friends and sometimes there are disagreements.
Shalev concluded her talk by calling the members of the Jewish community to send their children to Israel. “You will fall in love with it. Israel is a small but great country,” she said.