Monday, May 30, 2011

Translation: Palestinian June 7 Protest Announcement

Stories are beginning to break of an upcoming set of demonstrations, including in the Palestinian Territories, commemorating the anniversary of the Six Day War in 1967, in which Israel took over the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula. The Twitter hashtag for the protest #Naksa, is Arabic for "setback" and refers to the displacement of Palestinians during the war. The hashtag is being used sparsely at the moment, and mostly by non-Palestinians. In the lead up to the UN bid for Palestinian statehood this September, these demonstrations are likely to reoccur as Palestinian organizers try to build legitimacy for their cause - and delegitimize Israel's hold on the West Bank by provoking it to overreact during the protests.

The following is the English translation of the Arabic-language Facebook page announcing these protests:

On 7/6/1967, on the third day of Israeli aggression with armored personnel carriers, and Israeli tanks to occupying the Old City of Jerusalem, [Israel] began entrance by military means into the Lion Gate, and launched its missiles towards the minaret of the Lion's Gate, one of the gates of Jerusalem, and in a moment of loss of the nation and the national consciousness which led to the emergence of the criminal "Mordechai Gur" who beamed as he declared, on radio, the fallllllllll [sic] of Jerusalem as "fully in our hands," Har HaBayit Bayadeinu [Hebrew for: "The Temple Mount is in our hands."]

March of Millions
The Intifada will continue until the return of our free land.

We announce in full force and in the loudest voice that on the next Seventh
of June/Hizeeran, the anniversary of the Zionist attack
on Jerusalem, the "Blossom of Cities," is
A day of allegiance to Jerusalem
Around the world.
And as we commemorate the Nakba and are able to survey this
period, we commemorate the memory of the "Setback" [reference to 1967] and make it a setback against the Occupying Entity.
We affirm that we will announce the proposed plan of action and operations throughout the coming days through the different pages of our continuing intifada..And Israel to its demise..
And we will pray together in the way of Allah the mosque in Jerusalem

Palestine will be liberated...and we will liberate it
From the river to the sea...and the sea to the river
And its churches.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why Israel Should Ease The Gaza Blockade

Today, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing on its border with the Gaza Strip for the first time the border checkpoint has been open on a regular basis since 2007. The move is likely to generate confidence among the Egyptian public in the transitional government, and a sense of hope in the country's future. It also is a step towards delegitimizing tunnels which run under the Egypt-Gaza border and are used largely for smuggling weapons. And it puts a renewed focus on Israel's blockade of the Gaza strip, a policy which is widely criticized in the Arab world, and in the international community.

Given Israel's legitimate concern over weapons smuggling, choking off supply lines of Kassam and Grad rockets which are targeted at Israeli civilians remains a security requirement. However, bans on items such as nutmeg, chocolate, size A4 paper, and goats generate a far higher security risk in Arab and international ill-will then they prevent in blockage (Note: some of the items on this May 2010 list, such as potato chips were removed following the Gaza flotilla incident).

As the bid for Palestinian statehood in September comes closer and closer each passing day, Israel has two security objectives to meet. First, it must demonstrate a credible commitment to the words spoken by Prime Minister Netanyahu in Washington last week. Second, it must garner as much international support as possible. Given the hard-headed approach of the Israeli Foreign Ministry these past few years, playing diplomatic catch-up will be no small feat.

Given these requirements, easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip next week would be an excellent move by the Israeli government. Even exempting dual-use items like concrete, easing restrictions on the flow of goods would have significant security benefits for the Jewish State.

The move would first and foremost demonstrate a credible commitment to improving the lives of Palestinians. One of the major concerns of Israeli pundits was that Netanyahu's remarks were just words, which would not be followed up with action. Easing the blockade would show that Netanyahu is serious about working proactively with Palestinians.

The move would also help to de-fang Hamas, which brews some of its public support off the anger Palestinians feel towards Israel over the blockade. Given the recent Fatah-Hamas unity agreement, easing the blockade could also be used for Israel as leverage against Hamas ("We did this for you, now what will you do for us?").

Easing the blockade would also delegitimize the latest Gaza flotilla, the political value of which Turkey has already exploited. The flotilla is set to arrive at the end of June, so easing the blockade now would be perfectly timed. It would be too late to avoid the policy change becoming irrelevant, and too early for the flotilla activists to claim it was their actions which caused it.

Easing the blockade would also go a long way to raising Israel's status in the international community. The Egyptian transitional government could point to an Israeli easing of the blockade as the result of its efforts, multiplying public confidence in the government, and bolstering Israel-Egypt relations at this time of great uncertainty. It would also delegitimize the argument that the siege amounts to collective punishment on Gaza's two million residents. Israel could also leverage an easing of the blockade in talks with countries holding veto power in the UN Security Council. Their support come September will be critical for Israel. The same tactic could be used by the United States, which would also appreciate the diplomatic leverage the policy change would create.

With the eyes of the world on Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu's administration has the opportunity to maximize the impact of his words in Washington this past week. Given the current international climate, and serious threats to Israel's short and long-term security, easing the Gaza blockade would go a long way in creating the conditions both on the ground and in the international community that Israel will need come September.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Long Week for Israel

It's been a long week.

US-Israel relations seem to have weathered the diplomatic ping-pong match without serious deterioration. Despite some tense moments, the relationship appears to be in the same place it started last Wednesday. Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to the US is not without criticism in Israel but appears to have served as a reminder that he successfully carries American support. For his part, President Obama continues to have the support of most, though not all, people who supported him before AIPAC. Conversely, he did not make any new friends as a result of his speech to the organization on Sunday.

And again, the people of the Middle East are back where they started. In Gaza, the humanitarian situation may slightly improve, but as the result of Egyptian action, not Israeli. Palestinians continue to face the depressing prospect of an Israeli government and United States Congress to whom they are largely invisible, save for the radical extremists among them. Israelis are still seriously concerned about the bid for Palestinian statehood in the UN, fearing it will further isolate Israel internationally and damage its diplomatic leverage. And they remain pessimistic about the prospects for the future. Everyone agrees the status quo is unsustainable, but no one agree on what the new status quo should be.

That Washington DC and the rest of the United States is now easing into Memorial Day Weekend is entirely appropriate. Having the time to reflect on the actual individuals who gave their lives defending the United States gives many Americans some perspective on the battles they fight day to day. Likewise, for those of us in the Israel policy community, remembering that fights over borders and language are only as worth fighting as the real individuals they protect would be a welcome step back from the rhetorical sandstorm of the past week.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bibi: Let US Help You

This September, the UN will likely vote on a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state. The resolution would not make it to the floor of the General Assembly however, unless it passed in the Security Council. President Obama implied strongly in his speech to AIPAC last Saturday that the United States would veto the Security Council resolution as one of its five permanent members. For obvious reasons, Israel opposes the bid.

For other obvious reasons, the veto will generate significant animosity from the Arab world and the international community. The credibility of America's commitment to the new Arab world will be called into question. While the US will be saying it supports freedom and empowerment, it will be voting against those same values for Palestinians. A failed bid may also be a perfect spark for a Palestinian version of the mass protests seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and elsewhere in the region. If the situation escalates this far, it will be nearly impossible for Israel to take action without being condemned, driving public opinion against the state, constraining it politically, and undermining the credibility of the Netanyahu government.

The Obama administration is likely aware of the tight balancing act it needs to play to mitigate the damage of vetoing a statehood bid. Because President Obama has been a the G-8 in France all week, however, administration rhetoric has been focused elsewhere.

For its part, the Israeli government appears to be oblivious.

The paranoia of the Netanyahu administration to secure a veto to which the US is already 99% committed entirely misses the point. Regardless of whether a bid for statehood passes or not, there will not be a Palestinian state on the ground. A similar bid for Palestinian statehood passed with the support of 104 countries in 1988. Today, as in 1988, the Palestinian Authority lacks the legitimacy, the infrastructure, and the international support to successfully govern a state.

Furthermore, the idea that a unilateral declaration of statehood will lead to indefensible borders, an attack from Jordan (which has a peace agreement with Israel since 1994) and the annihilation of the Jewish state is a farce. But it is a farce which continues to be propagated by the Israeli government, and yes, by many of the speakers at the AIPAC conference this past weekend.

The true threat of a bid for Palestinian statehood is that the US veto may set off mass protests. If the protests are a violent third intifada, Israel will have US support but will lack support from the international community. It's status as a pariah state will be reinforced and its political leverage will again be severely constrained.

The secret weapon of the Palestinians, however, would be non-violent protests. In addition to isolation from the international community, non-violent protests would put a serious strain on the US-Israel relationship. The United States would be ill advised to condemn or otherwise stand against non-violent Palestinian protests because such statements could significantly set back US engagement with the Arab world. And while violent resistance would unfortunately garner considerable support from the Arab street, non-violent resistance would gain even more support. Yet the Obama administration would also face significant pressure, especially in an election season, to stand with Israel. The situation would be a catch-22, and far from ideal for the US or Israel to say the least.

While this scenario is highly undesirable, it is also preventable. And given the current turmoil in the Middle East, Israel has no excuse for not proactively addressing what precious little in can anticipate. It must be the strategic priority of the Israeli government, and those who support it, to mitigate the inevitable damage which will occur following a US veto of a Palestinian statehood bid. Most importantly, this means that Prime Minister Netanyahu will need to give the US political space to demonstrate that it supports a Palestinian state. In the current political environment, a statement from the US that "we support Palestinian statehood but oppose unilateral actions" is meaningless given the lack of progress towards a solution, and what Palestinians perceive to be blatant pro-Israel pandering during the Prime Minister's visit last week. If the US can offer an alternative to a UN bid, however, damage can be brought down to acceptable levels, and there is a chance for all parties to weather the storm.

Picking fights with the Obama administration over the 1967 border issue may be a good way for the current administration in Israel to solidify its coalition and get votes. But doing so hurts the ability of the United States to advance its influence and interests in the Middle East on behalf of Israel. The Netanyahu administration may be trying to shoot down the bid for Palestinian statehood. But by constraining US foreign policy options, it's really just shooting itself in the foot.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AIPAC's Cognitive Dissonance

AIPAC uses ahavat ha'aretz, love for the land of Israel, to motivate activists and constituents on behalf of Israel. To that end, the feeling at AIPAC conference was overwhelmingly positive, like a huge bar mitzvah party. During the plenary sessions, the sounds and images which played on the massive screens behind the proceedings were heavily emotionally charged. Scenes of Israeli flags being burned and sad piano music on one end of the spectrum contrasted with music straight out of a George Lucas movie on the other hand. Only at AIPAC could reading a list of 2/3rds of the members of the House and Senate be made exciting.

Behind the carefully orchestrated production of AIPAC Conference however, is an Israeli public more centrist than its American supporters, an occupation whose human cost went unacknowledged at the conference, and an Arab Spring to which Israel is failing to adequately respond. In the feel-good glow of the Emerald City of AIPAC Conference, paying no attention to that man behind the curtain is all too easy.

But for a PhD student focused on Middle East politics, the glitz and glam of AIPAC could not overcome the cognitive dissonance between AIPAC's framing, and the reality on the ground in the Middle East. The inclusion of scholars like Michelle Dunne and more liberal voices like former congressman Robert Wexler is admirable of AIPAC. The attempt at being big-tent is easier for AIPAC because it holds the center of American Jewish public opinion. Yet the organization deserves credit for including speakers from a range of different opinions.

However, because AIPAC's messaging at the plenaries is so focused, it can include more liberal voices at breakout sessions without compromising the strength of the message.

The liberal voices at the conference may very well be intended to honestly showcase a range of opinions on Israel. And while J Street's speakers were Left, and More Left, AIPAC's speaker are Very Right, Center Right, Center, and Center Left. However, the effect of this array of speakers is not to encourage critical thinking and rigorous debate on Israel. Rather, these speakers embolden the conservative reactionism and ahavat ha'aretz of AIPAC's constituency.

The reaction of the audience in two different panels to liberal speakers was not "That's an interesting counter-point," but rather "This guy doesn't know what he's talking about." At one point, as an expert in a panel on whether Palestinians are a partner for peace cautioned the Prime Minister for his policy choices, an audience member remarked to her friend "Is he puttin' down Bibi?" For her, the Prime Minister was not a government official to be evaluated through public discourse, but a friend to be defended.

Using talking points and in-group reinforcement versus true education is the modus operandi of all lobbying organizations, and AIPAC cannot be blamed for wanting to be effective or for the cognitive shortcuts taken by its constituents. However, if the American pro-Israel community is not educated on the complexity of Middle East issues, it will become less and less equipped to address the complex challenges Israel faces in the 21st century. Knowledge is power. Truly fostering a stronger US-Israel relationship requires educating, truly educating, American supporters of Israel as to why conflict exists. Talking points education, whether from J Street or AIPAC, does a disservice to the American pro-Israel community's ability to advocate for Israel.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bibi Runs For Congress...And Wins

Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech this morning was a huge win for the Prime Minister, a small and ultimately irrelevant win for President Obama, and an embarrassment to the United States Congress.

In his remarks, Netanyahu chose the consensus option. He repeated Obama's rhetoric that the final status agreement would not be the same as the 1967 borders, and added his own rhetoric that those borders were indefensible. Obama left enough rhetorical space in his speech to AIPAC Sunday for Netanyahu to crystallize and end the petty spat, and Netanyahu wisely did so. In the future, Prime Minister Netanyahu may be more careful about his reactions to Obama's policy speeches, which will serve both the US and Israel well.

But Obama's win is only an ends in and of itself. Netanyahu diplomatically bowed out of the argument, only to capture American public support. He will return back to Israel showing that he can rally the Americans behind government policy and behind the State of Israel. While the Israeli press will point out the distinction between his approval rating in the US versus at home, the fact remains that Netanyahu is in a stronger position now than before leaving on his trip to Washington.

It is beyond clear, however, that between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, both AIPAC's constituency and the United States Congress as a whole overwhelmingly prefer Netanyahu. The Republican party would kill to have a candidate like Prime Minister Netanyahu for the 2012 election. In particular, Netanyahu's statement, "It took me a while, but eventually I learned, there is an America outside the beltway," was a brilliant use of rhetoric indicating that the Prime Minister is deeply in touch with American frustration with the federal government. As always, Netanyahu proved that his political savvy is never ever to be underestimated.

But Congress's reaction seriously undermined the legitimacy of US efforts to be seen as an honest broker in the Middle East at a time when its reputation is both critical and the subject of hyper-sensitive scrutiny. Even in the rare instances where Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out the benefits of peace to Palestinians, such as the return of some refugees to the West Bank, the Congress was silent. Applauding these lines would have been at least a thinly veiled attempt at giving due diligence to the American Muslim community, Palestinian-Americans, and those Americans who support a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue. It would have had no negative resonance in the American Jewish community to applaud the benefits of peace to Palestinians. But enough members of Congress chose pandering over pragmatism to irrevocably damage US efforts to effectively posture itself in the region.

Congress's reaction will severely constrain President Obama's ability to garner European support behind a US veto of UN recognition of a Palestinian state. Perhaps even more consequential, the Arab street will perceive America as having failed to adapt to the new realities on the ground in the Middle East. This bodes poorly for American engagement in the Middle East, and the extent to which the newly liberated Arab publics will trust American policy and commitments in the region.

Four Quick Thoughts on Bibi's Speech

1) The real speech will be tomorrow. While Prime Minister Netanyahu's repetition of the 1967 indefensible border rhetoric is significant, he used his speech tonight to signpost for his address tomorrow at a joint session of Congress. This round is still not over, and knowing Bibi, the snake has yet to strike.

2) Bibi's strategy was to ignore the President. While Obama's remarks to AIPAC were relatively confrontational, Netanyahu did not directly address them. His strategy was to win the talking point with AIPAC, not the bout with the president. This is a win for Netanyahu because he rallied his support among his core. It is also a short-term win for Obama, who successfully won a diplomatic spat against Bibi, save for any major surprises tomorrow.

3) AIPAC was generally much more supportive of Netanyahu than of Obama. AIPAC has been smeared in the past as an organization which represents Israel's interests in America. But it's hard to deny this claim when mention of President Obama gets light applause but mention of Prime Minister Netanyahu gets huge applause. It's hard when Obama gets a reasonable reception but Netanyahu gets an overwhelming reception and a prolonged standing ovation as the hero of the conference.

4) Protesters Mattered. Five times during Netanyahu's speech, he stopped speaking because of protesters. The first three were women. The fourth was a large man carrying a pink flag. The fifth was a man in a suit and tie sitting in the press area, who shouted "Israeli denial of the Nakba is indefensible." The protesters were greeting with applause and cheers to drown them out, the comment by Netanyahu that "You think they have these protests in Gaza?" As protesters were escorted by the press section, shouts of "Get the f*ck out of here" were audible. The protesters drew attention away from the content of Netanyahu's remarks, but the audience reacted by supporting Netanyahu even more than before the protesters started, at points shouting "Bibi, Bibi!" They were the also topic of many discussions on the walk out of the convention center. While they won't affect perceptions of those outside the room, the protesters' effect was to bolster support for the Netanyahu government among 10,000 people who will be on Capitol Hill tomorrow to lobby.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Text of Netanyahu Speech to AIPAC

Text of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech as released by AIPAC:

When tragedy strikes America, Israel mourns.

Tragedy has struck America.

In recent days, tornadoes and floods have claimed the lives of hundreds of Americans.

Israel grieves with you.

To all our supporters in this great hall, and to the millions of our supporters across this great land, the people of Israel thank you.

Thank you for your staunch commitment to Israel's security.

Thank you for defending Israel's right to defend itself.

Thank you for standing by Israel as it seeks a secure peace.

You know that Israel is America's indispensable ally.

You understand that Israel and America stand shoulder to shoulder fighting common enemies, protecting common interests.

You know that Israeli innovators help power computers, fight disease, conserve water, and clean the planet.

Your support for Israel flows from the heart.

It's not just what Israel does. It's what Israel is.

Yesterday, they let me out.

My wife got to visit Washington's majestic memorials.

I read Jefferson's timeless words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal."

I read Lincoln's immortal address reaffirming "Government of the people, for the people, and by the people."

You know why these words resonate so powerfully with me and with all Israelis.

Because they are rooted in ideas first championed by our people, the Jewish people.

The idea that all men are created in God's image.

That no ruler is above the law.

That everyone is entitled to justice.

These revolutionary Jewish ideas were spoken thousands of years ago when vast slave empires ruled the earth.

Israel is the cradle of our common civilization, crucible of our moral ideals.

The Jewish state was founded on these eternal values.

This is why Israel's more than one million Muslim citizens enjoy full democratic rights.

This is why the only place in the Middle East where Christians are completely free to practice their faith is in the democratic State of Israel.

And this is why only Israel can be trusted to ensure freedom for all faiths in our eternal capital, the united city of Jerusalem.

My Friends,

Israel and America have drawn from this deep wellspring of common values.

We have forged an enduring friendship not merely between our governments but between our peoples.

Support for Israel doesn't divide America.

It unites America.

It unites the old and the young, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans—and yes, Joe Leiberman, it even unites Independents—

This broad support for Israel is a source of great strength for my country.

Since Harry Truman, Israel has looked to American Presidents to stand by its side to meet unfolding challenges of a changing world.

President Obama has spoken about his ironclad commitment to Israel's security.

He rightly said that our security cooperation is unprecedented.

He spoke of that commitment not just in front of AIPAC, but in two speeches heard throughout the Arab world.

And President Obama has backed those words with deeds.

I know these are tough economic times.

So I want to thank the President and Congress for providing Israel with vital assistance so that Israel can defend itself by itself.

Thank you for supporting the Iron Dome missile-defense system.

A few weeks ago, Hamas terrorists in Gaza fired eight rockets at Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva.

The rockets never reached their targets.

Iron Dome intercepted them.

For the first time, a missile defense system worked in combat.

Thank you, America.

America and Israel are cooperating in so many other ways.

In science, in technology, in trade, in investment.

Its not only American companies investing in Israel.

It's Israeli companies investing in America.

In the last decade, Israeli companies have invested more than $50 billion in America.

One of those investments is happening just down the road in Richmond.

An Israeli company is building a food factory there.

That means more business, more jobs and yes, more Hummus.

Well it's not just food we're bringing to America.

Take medicine.

Israel is advancing cures for multiple schlerosis, cancer and alzheimer's.

We've developed the mechanical means to make paraplegics walk again.

We placed a tiny diagnostic camera inside a pill.

A Jerusalem start-up company has developed a bandage to rapidly stop bleeding.

A million of those bandages have been supplied to the US army.

They are saving American lives and limbs.

But not just on the battlefield.

A few months ago, one of those bandages was carried by a policeman in Tuscon, Arizona.

It helped save the life of a great friend of Israel, Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords!

Israel and America are also cooperating to end the world's worst addiction -- the addiction to oil.

This dependence fuels terrorism.

It poisons the planet.

We've launched a ten-year program to seek a substitute for gasoline.

If we succeed, we can change history.

My Friends,

The American people's support for Israel is reflected in my invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress tomorrow.

I will talk about the great convulsion taking place in the Middle East -

I will talk about the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran.

I will also outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace.

I will speak the unvarnished truth.

Now, more than ever, what we need is clarity.

Events in our region are finally opening people's eyes to a simple truth.

The problems of the region are not rooted in Israel.

The remarkable scenes we are witnessing in town squares across the Middle East and North Africa are occurring for a simple reason.

People want freedom.

They want progress. They want a better life.

For many of the people in the region, the 20th century skipped them by.

Now 21st century technology is showing them what they missed.

That desperate fruit vendor in Tunis didn't set himself on fire because of Israel.

He set himself on fire because of decades of indignity, decades of intolerable corruption.

The millions who poured into the streets of Tehran, Tunis, Cairo, Sanna, Benghazi and Damascus, were not thinking about Israel.

They were thinking of freedom.

They were yearning for opportunity.

It's time to stop blaming Israel for all of the region's problems.

Let me stress one thing.

Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a vital need for us.

Peace would be the realization of a powerful and eternal dream.

But it is not a panacea for the endemic problems of the Middle East.

It will not give women is some Arab countries in the Middle East the right to drive a car.

It will not prevent Churches from being bombed.

It will not keep journalists out of jail.

What will change all this? One word.

Democracy. Real, genuine, democracy.

By democracy, I don't just mean elections.

I mean Freedom of Speech. Freedom of the Press. Freedom of Assembly.

The Rule of Law. Rights for women, for gays, for minorities, for everyone.

What the people of the Middle East need is what you have in America, and what we have in Israel.


It's time to recognize this basic truth:

Israel is not what's wrong about the Middle East.

Israel is what's right about the Middle East.

My Friends,

Israel wants peace because we know the pain of terror and the agony of war.

We want peace because we know the blessings peace could bring to us and to our Palestinian neighbors.

But if we hope to advance peace with the Palestinians, then it is time that we admitted another truth.

This conflict has raged for nearly a century because the Palestinians refuse to end it.

They refuse to accept the Jewish state.

This is what this conflict has always been about.

There are many issues that must be resolved between Israelis and Palestinians.

We can and must resolve them.

But I repeat. We can only make peace with the Palestinians if they are prepared to make peace with the Jewish state.

Tomorrow, I will speak more about what such a peace could look like.

But tonight I wanted to express Israel's gratitude for all you are doing to help strengthen Israel and its great alliance with America.

*You help maintain our Qualitative Military Edge.

*You back sanctions against Iran.

* You support a genuine peace.

*You oppose Hamas.

*You've joined President Obama and me in denouncing Hamas and demanding that it release, Gilad Shalit.

That's another outrageous crime of Hamas.

Keeping a young soldier locked in a dark dungeon for five years without even a visit from the Red Cross.

Hamas must release Gilad Shalit!

My friends,

I spent my high school years in Philadelphia.

I went many times to see the Liberty Bell.

Now, as Prime Minister of Israel, I can walk down the street and see an exact replica of that bell in Jerusalem's Liberty Park.

On both bells is the same inscription.

It comes from the Bible, from Leviticus.

"Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land."

My Dear Friends,

This is the essence of the great alliance between our two nations.

Two peoples bonded in Liberty, and seeking freedom and peace for all.