Thank you very much, George. Ladies and gentlemen, if I had received this
invitation to speak before Chatham House 60 years ago, it would be for me
an awesome challenge. Today I feel relaxed. The reason is that Great Britain
was one thing in history and Great Britain is another thing when you judge her
by heritage. I think the heritage is a more important contribution to the
greatness of Britain than the fact that she ruled many countries.

Looking around, I think your contribution to India is unbelievable. I don’t
believe that India would be democratic without the British experience. And
they became the largest democracy in our time. I think without the English
language, India wouldn’t be able to unite. It was made of hundreds of sects
and languages. What really unites India is your language.

Furthermore, I think it would be very difficult for India to enter the global
economy without the English language. The advantage of India over China is
the language. India could have connected itself far earlier in these years than
the Chinese with their language.

The same goes for Israel. When you were in Israel on a British mandate, we
were against you. The moment you left, we admire you. It’s one thing to be for
democracy; it’s another thing to be democratic. Those are two different things.

In all of my talks with Arafat, he made the following remarks, ‘My God.
Democracy – who has invented it? It is so tiring.’ Well, I think it’s better to be
tired by freedom than to be fresh by violence.

And we learn from you what democracy is in real terms, in spite of the fatigue
it creates and the problems it introduces. Also something which served us a
great deal, the founder of Israel, Ben Gurion, was in London during the
bombardment of this great city. He was so impressed by the behaviour of the
British people under bombs, under shortages, under poor news.

I think it helped us to remain democratic while at war, not only at peace. In
our 63 years of existence, we have had to go through seven wars without
giving up a day of democracy. And without giving up the hope for peace. So
that’s the reason I feel so relaxed and it is a good occasion for me to express
our thanks for this heritage of Great Britain and the impact it made upon the
history of our country.

Now again there is a storm, but a very different nature. I mean the revolt, if I
may call it so, was not organized. Neither by party nor by an army nor by
religion. It’s actually a revolt without organizers. Nobody knows who
organized it. It arrived from an unknown combination of sentiments and
knowledge introduced to the younger generation by modern communication,
the internet, smartphones, Facebook.

For the first time, young people in the Arab world could have seen with their
own eyes the ugly face of dictatorship, of corruption, of want. And they could
have compared their lot with the lot of other young people in the world. And
ask themselves why they’re not here. And actually, it is really a revolt,
unorganized, spontaneous, against autocracy, against oppression, against
starvation, against discrimination.

In my eyes, it’s a great event. And I pray for their success. I think time has
arrived that this great bloc of human fate, the Arab bloc, will enter the 21st
century. It’s not easy because the vote is not open. The old rulers and the old
prejudices are using fire against these uprisings of young people who did it
without any violence. I feel they will win.

I don’t have the slightest doubt, because actually what is more than
communication and what is science? It’s a fight against blindness. It’s opening
your eyes. Once you open your eyes, it’s very hard to force them to close
again. But in the meantime, there may be a lot of confrontations and even of
blood and disappointment.

I’m asking myself, what can we contribute to help the positive and right nature
of this revolve to become successful? We are not running their life. You
cannot give orders to anybody. We shouldn’t do it either. But there are two
important contributions I believe that can help.

One is really to use the short time of the open window to bring an end to the
conflict between us and the Palestinians. It so happened that the forces
against this awakening in the Arab world are using the conflict as an excuse
for their own policies – the Iranians, Hezbollah, Hamas. There are some
others, I won’t mention all the names.

And I think we have to take away this excuse from their midst. This pretence
to say that they don’t fight for themselves, they fight for the Palestinian
people. It’s wrong because the way to make peace between the Palestinians
and ourselves is really between the two of us. I think it can be done. I believe
it can be done in a short while. I think the psychological gaps are greater than
the material ones.

I do believe that what’s happening now, what’s taking place now, in the West
Bank is a real precedent, because the Palestinians never have had a state in
their history. They didn’t have to try and build a city or to plant a tree on the
land. Now they started. The economy in West Bank is growing, 10 percent
this year. For the first time, the Palestinians can sense the taste of tangible
peace, not just a rhetorical one. And there is a different mood in the West
Bank. I do believe that the remaining problems can be solved. What I want to
emphasise, that we have to do it, as promptly as we may.

I want to say a word about the negotiations which are now taking place, or
should take place, between us and the Palestinians. You know, history is like
a galloping horse. When the horse passes nearby your home, you’d better
mount the horse and gallop with it. Otherwise the horse will gallop without you
and you will remain at home.

I’m trying to tell our Palestinian friends, look, the horse is galloping. Let’s
mount it. And they suggest let’s postpone the horse riding. Let’s follow the
gallop of the horse and let’s stop the horse trading of details. It shall start
again with the horse trading, we may waste opportunities and we shall hardly
arrive to the conclusions.

You know, negotiations for peace is not a simple proposition. I felt it, I learned
it myself. It begins with the problem at your own home. When you have to
make peace, you have to make concessions. You have to compromise. And
your people say yes, we are for peace. Yes, we know that you have to
compromise. But why so much? Why do you give away so fast? Why do you
trust other people? Now there is no way to measure. You see a poor

And it’s not simple. On the two sides, to convince your people that you’re a
great negotiator, that you achieve the maximum, that you gave away the
minimum. It doesn’t happen. And that’s one of the reasons why it is so
difficult. Not because of peace but because the cost of the peace and
because the appreciation of your own people about your negotiations. I paid
quite heavily in elections because of that.

And for leaders it is very difficult. To be a modern leader, [you] must be
elected every morning anew over television. And if he doesn’t appear as a
great hero that every day has solved the world, he has a problem with the
audience. And that’s from both sides. The only way to overcome it is really to
handle the negotiations away from public eye in a discreet manner. No other
way. We have to open it publicly and negotiate discreetly. That’s what we did
in Oslo. In a way, it was done also with the Egyptians and also with the

I know people are criticising Israel about peace and at that time, they pressed
upon Israel long for peace. Once we made peace with Egypt, we gave back
all the land and all the water. Once we made peace with Jordan, we gave
them back all the land and all the water. It’s rare in history to win wars, gain
assets, and give it away for an intangible promise of peace and what you’re
giving back is tangible – land and resources.

Actually we offer to the Palestinians the same things. There is no argument
today in Israel that the solution should be based on a two-state solution,
which means a partition, which means that we have to give back land, and

So that’s number one and I think we have to bring the parties together with
great patience to overcome the prejudices of the past. If our memory is very
strong and you may forget a lot of things, one thing is never forgettable. And
that is prejudices. They live longer than anything else I can think of,

The other point that should and can be done is behind this revolt in the Arab
midst, there are some very serious questions, problems. And the most
important one is poverty. If you’ll take the case of Egypt, in 1952, during the
military revolt in Egypt, there were 18 million Egyptians. Today there are 81
million Egyptians, which means that Egypt grew four times in 50 years.
Nothing else in Egypt has grown the same way. And Egypt is not a country
that has a river; Egypt is a country that the river is a country. The Nile controls
the fate of Egypt. And the Nile didn’t gain a drop of water.

Furthermore, the nine countries alongside the Nile, all of them have grown in
size and grown in their demand of distribution of water, which is a real
problem. So the issue is how can Egypt be saved? Egypt, at 80 million and
next, another 80 million. And next, Sudan another 50 million. How can they be
saved from poverty?

Well, one can say aid of foreign governments. But nowadays, I don’t know
any foreign government, rich as they may be, that doesn’t have a deficit. And
I do not see the foreign governments open their pockets and say, ‘Gentlemen,
have the money.’ Neither am I convinced that you need the money for it.
What you need is to introduce the real solution to escape poverty, and that is,
in my judgement, the science and technology.

We saw it with our own eye. Fifty years ago, China was poorer than Egypt.
Mao co-opted, Mao divided. And how did they escape the poverty? I think in
China there were two revolutions, one by Mao Zedong, who provided the
Chinese with the vision and the leadership. But then he went astray, once he
became the head of China he became a different person.

And then there was a second revolution in China by Deng, 30 years ago, who
introduced the market economy brought in science and technology and look
what happened. Over a billion and a half people went out of poverty. I don’t
say they solved the problem and everything is perfect. But this is a real

The same happened to India. Indians were poor, divided, not without
corruption. And I think India too went through two revolutions. One introduced
by Gandhi, the other introduced by Nehru. Gandhi has the genial idea, he
says, ‘I have 750 million poor Indians who live in the villages. They don’t have
food, they don’t have water. They are short of material things.’ And Gandhi
told them, ‘You know what? I am not sure I can save you from your material
poverty, but I can offer you spiritual wealth. If you give up your desires, you
change your life, then you’ll be happy people.’

It’s not a bad idea. But then Nehru says, “I’m not sure that this is sufficient.”
And Nehru decided to modernise India. He did it by inviting at the same time
two five-year plans. One from the Politburo in Russia and the other from the
MIT in America. He tried to introduce the two of them, well, it was partly
successful. Anyway, India escaped, too, poverty. Three billion people.

And if I can say the last example, it’s Korea. Korea gained its independence
in 1948. They were poor. Short of land. Short of industry. And they sent
thousands of their youngsters to study abroad technology, came back, and
they changed Korea. Korea is divided like the Palestinians. They have North
Korea and South Korea. South Korea is a success, North Korea is a scandal
of poverty.

And I say that that should be done in the Arab world as well. Now I don’t
believe the governments have the money, but the non-governmental sector
has it. I must say that the heads of modern companies are educated and
intelligent people. They are not all barons. And they have decided out of their
own free will to give back money to their communities. Look at Buffett, look at
Gates, other large companies. Because they reached a conclusion that you
cannot keep your market just by selling good products. You must selfestablish
good relations. And they do not want to be accused as they are
profiteering from the poor people.

So they have established foundations which are louder than the foreign aid of
many countries. What I would recommend to them is to use these foundations
not for charity or for philanthropy, but for destiny. Instead of giving it to sick
people, let them give it to sick countries. Let them enable the countries to
cure themselves and it will eventually be a world market.

Here comes Israel as an example. We don’t have land. We don’t have water.
Until now, we were the only country in an oily surrounding. I heard that we
may discover oil and I’m a little bit worried. I think again, make a living without
oil, quite successfully. And without land and water, we built a very successful
agriculture, based 95 percent on high-tech. We are not superior people. What
we did, everybody can do. And our lessons are available to whomever may

I believe that this double effort to bring peace right away, not to postpone, and
postpone the trading of houses for a later date, and at the same time to give
vision and hope to the people, is what should be done right away. It’s a winwin
situation. And in spite of the rifles that are shooting at the young people, I
think a right spirit is stronger than the best rifle in the world.

This I believe in the shortest way I can explain should be, and is, I believe the
policy of our country. Thank you.