Israel and the United States sign Memorandum of Understanding regarding prevention of the supply of arms and related materiel to terrorist groups
Memorandum of UnderstandingBetweenIsrael and the United States RegardingPrevention of the Supply of Arms and Related Materiel to Terrorist Groups
Israel and the United States (the “Parties”),
Recalling the steadfast commitment of the United States to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats;
Reaffirming that such commitment is reflected in the security, military and intelligence cooperation between the United States and Israel, the Strategic Dialogue between them, and the level and kind of assistance provided by the United States to Israel;
Taking note of the efforts of Egyptian President Mubarak, particularly the recognition that securing Gaza’s border is indispensable to realizing a durable and sustainable end to fighting in Gaza;
Unequivocally condemning all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism as unjustifiable, wherever and by whomever committed and whatever the motivation, in particular, the recent rocket and mortar attacks and other hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from Gaza by terrorist organizations;
Recognizing that suppression of acts of international terrorism, including denying the provision of arms and related materiel to terrorist organizations, is an essential element for the maintenance of international peace and security;
Recognizing that the acquisition and use of arms and related materiel by terrorists against Israel were the direct causes of recent hostilities;
Recognizing the threat to Israel of hostile and terrorist activity from Gaza, including weapons smuggling and the build-up of terrorist capabilities, weapons and infrastructure; and understanding that Israel, like all nations, enjoys the inherent right of self defense, including the right to defend itself against terrorism through appropriate action;
Desiring to improve bilateral, regional and multilateral efforts to prevent the provision of arms and related materiel to terrorist organizations, particularly those currently operating in the Gaza Strip, such as Hamas;
Recognizing that achieving and maintaining a durable and sustainable cessation of hostilities is dependent upon prevention of smuggling and re-supply of weapons into Gaza for Hamas, a terrorist organization, and other terrorist groups, and affirming that Gaza should not be used as a base from which Israel may be attacked;
Recognizing also that combating weapons and explosives supply to Gaza is a multi-dimensional, results-oriented effort with a regional focus and international components working in parallel, and that this is a priority of the United States’ and Israel’s efforts, independently and with each other, to ensure a durable and sustainable end to hostilities;
Recognizing further the crucial need for the unimpeded, safe and secure provision of humanitarian assistance to the residents of Gaza;
Intending to work with international partners to ensure the enforcement of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions on counterterrorism in relation to terrorist activity in Gaza;
Have reached the following understandings:
1. The Parties will work cooperatively with neighbors and in parallel with others in the international community to prevent the supply of arms and related materiel to terrorist organizations that threaten either party, with a particular focus on the supply of arms, related materiel and explosives into Gaza to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
2. The United States will work with regional and NATO partners to address the problem of the supply of arms and related materiel and weapons transfers and shipments to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, including through the Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and eastern Africa, through improvements in existing arrangements or the launching of new initiatives to increase the effectiveness of those arrangements as they relate to the prevention of weapons smuggling to Gaza. Among the tools that will be pursued are:
Enhanced U.S. security and intelligence cooperation with regional governments on actions to prevent weapons and explosives flows to Gaza that originate in or transit their territories; including through the involvement of relevant components of the U.S. Government, such as U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Special Operations Command.
Enhanced intelligence fusion with key international and coalition naval forces and other appropriate entities to address weapons supply to Gaza;
Enhancement of the existing international sanctions and enforcement mechanisms against provision of material support to Hamas and other terrorist organizations, including through an international response to those states, such as Iran, who are determined to be sources of weapons and explosives supply to Gaza.
3. The United States and Israel will assist each other in these efforts through enhanced sharing of information and intelligence that would assist in identifying the origin and routing of weapons being supplied to terrorist organizations in Gaza.
4. The United States will accelerate its efforts to provide logistical and technical assistance and to train and equip regional security forces in counter-smuggling tactics, working towards augmenting its existing assistance programs.
5. The United States will consult and work with its regional partners on expanding international assistance programs to affected communities in order to provide an alternative income/employment to those formerly involved in smuggling.
6. The Parties will establish mechanisms as appropriate for military and intelligence cooperation to share intelligence information and to monitor implementation of the steps undertaken in the context of this Memorandum of Understanding and to recommend additional measures to advance the goals of this Memorandum of Understanding. In so far as military cooperation is concerned, the relevant mechanism will be the United States-Israel Joint Counterterrorism Group, the annual Military to Military discussion, and the Joint Political Military Group.
7. This Memorandum of Understanding of ongoing political commitments between the Parties will be subject to the laws and regulations of the respective parties, as applicable, including those governing the availability of funds and the sharing of information and intelligence.
This Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 16 January, 2009 at Washington, in duplicate, in the English language.
Remarks by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni following the signing of the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of UnderstandingWashington, D.C., January 16, 2009
SECRETARY RICE: I’m very glad to be here this morning to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with Israel, and with the Foreign Minister and Vice Prime Minister at my side.
We have worked together over the last years with a common commitment to bringing peace and security to Israel and its citizens, and to Israel’s Palestinian neighbors. I know how important it is to her and to the Israeli government to see that Israel and all of its citizens achieve the security and peace that they so deserve. It is for this reason that the United States has been working so hard to bring an end to rocket attacks and threats directed against Israel from Gaza, and to stabilize and normalize life for both Israelis and Palestinians.
The current crisis in Gaza was instigated by Hamas, a terrorist group that has called for the destruction of Israel, and refused to extend the calm, and still holds Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier, who was captured.
The Israelis cannot be expected to live under daily threats, nor should Gazans be put at risk by Hamas’s reckless targeting of Israel or endure the brutality of life under Hamas. Hamas has presided over the degradation of safety and well-being of innocent Palestinians since it seized power in a violent coup against the legitimate Palestinian Authority 18 months ago.
We’ve said repeatedly that the continued supply of armaments to Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza, including by some in the region, is a direct cause of the current hostilities. It is, therefore, incumbent upon on us in the international community to prevent the rearmament of Hamas so that a ceasefire will be durable and fully respected. There must be an international consensus that Gaza can never again be used as a launching pad against Israeli cities.
This Memorandum of Understanding that we will sign today responds to that need. It provides a series of steps that the United States and Israel will take to stem the flow of weapons and explosives into Gaza. The United States is reaching out to its partners, as well. And together, the steps that we and other members of the international community can take will contribute to a durable ceasefire.
The United States remains deeply concerned, too, about the innocent Palestinians who are suffering in Gaza. A sustainable end to hostilities, rather than one that collapses in a few days or weeks, is crucial to ending the suffering. In the meantime, we are doing all that we can to respond to the humanitarian needs of the population of Gaza.
And Foreign Minister Livni and I have talked about the need to be responsive to the humanitarian organizations that are working there, including the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross, as well as nongovernmental organizations with which we are working through USAID to relieve the suffering of innocent people there.
When this is done, we must all turn again back to the goals of UN Security Council Resolution 1850. That resolution noted that lasting peace can only be based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement, and terror, and the two-state solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations. The United States remains firmly committed to Israel’s security, to continued bilateral negotiations through the Annapolis process, toward a two-state solution, which is the only way, ultimately, to secure a future for Israelis and Palestinians alike over the long term. The sooner that these hostilities can be brought to an end, the sooner the real work of forging a permanent peace can resume.
President Bush and I have very much enjoyed and valued our work with you, Tzipi, and with the people of Israel, with Prime Minister Olmert, with Defense Minister Barak, and with others. Israel and the United States will and always will – are and always will remain friends. We share values and we share a common desire to see a Middle East that lives in peace and in freedom.
And so, I welcome you here today in these difficult circumstances, but I know that you, in your personal commitment to a better life for the people of Israel and for the people of the Middle East, as well as for the people of the world, will continue your endeavors well beyond this day. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Thank you.
Israel is fighting today against the Hamas terrorist organization that has taken Gaza hostage and continues to target the citizens of Israel. We are fighting Hamas that continues to hold Gilad Shalit and even denies him ICRC access. I said from the outset that ending the fighting in Gaza will not be achieved by agreements with terror, but with effective arrangements against it. This is what we are doing today.
I said from the outset that an end to the fighting will not come through a simple call for a ceasefire, but through a determined, united and effective effort of the international community against terror groups such as Hamas. And this is what we are doing today.
Israel left the Gaza Strip years ago. When we left, Hamas claimed that terror made us leave. But the truth is that it was the hope for peace that made us leave Gaza, and terror that forced us, and forced our soldiers, to come and fight in Gaza today.
After years of restraint, Israel has shown that it will no longer tolerate attacks on our citizens, and that there will be a high price for terror from Gaza against our citizens. We have also made clear, as have many international leaders including President Bush and Secretary Rice, that for a cessation of hostilities to be durable there must be an end to the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. That is why the MOU we signed today is so important, as a vital component for the cessation of hostility.
It is true that even after the fighting ends we will reserve our right to act to defend ourselves against terrorist activities in Gaza, including weapons smuggling and buildup of military capabilities. But this can be prevented by actions by the international community according to this MOU.
In this MOU we have agreed on a series of actions with regional and international players in order to complement Egyptian actions and end the flow of weapons to Gaza. I will not repeat the list of measures, but these are specific steps to end the flow of weapons along the supply routes by working with NATO and regional states and by enhancing the effectiveness of measures against Iran, the main supplier of these weapons.
As I have said many times, our commitment to peace and the solution of two states for two peoples requires not only genuine negotiations with our pragmatic partners, the legitimate Palestinian government, as was decided in Annapolis, but also determined action against terrorists and enemies of peace. It is this dual strategy that we are pursuing, and I believe that it is this strategy that will lead us to a more secure and peaceful future.
I believe that this MOU, together with a parallel understanding with Egypt, and an end to attacks from Gaza can create the basis for Israeli decisions on the future of the operation.
I am glad to thank Secretary Rice and the entire administration for their efforts to conclude this important and I think historic MOU in record time, and I think that this MOU shows once again not only the strong strategic partnership between Israel and the US, but also the principled and determined stand of the United States against terror as the leader of the free world. We value this leadership under President Bush, and we are confident that it will continue under the new US administration under President-elect Obama.
On a personal note, I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Condi Rice, not just for her efforts on this MOU, but for her leadership, support and friendship over the last years. Important work has been done over the last years to lay the foundation for a secure and stable Middle East, for the benefit of the people of Israel and the region as a whole. There are many challenges ahead, but I want to thank my friend Condi for her important contribution on our shared goals and shared values. It is values that we are talking about, and the determination to act according to your values. I know that you care, I know that in each and every decision that you made, you were working according to your values and the understanding that we need to work together in order to create a better world.