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H. Bar: Address to World Summit 2017

Address to World Summit 2017, Seoul, Korea, February 1 to 5, 2017


Honorable guests, distinguish parliamentarians from around the world, thank you for the opportunity to address you on this important issue, an issue that is crucial to our life, in the Middle East and in the rest of the world. It is the issue of peace.

Just as a world without poverty will be a better world for wealthy people, a world with tolerance and respect for each other, a world with strong education for peace, will be a better world for all—even for those who don't believe in tolerance and peace. A world without wars or conflicts would benefit us all. This is exactly what we are doing here at this conference. This is exactly our role as parliamentarians. 

As a citizen, and as a parliamentarian from Israel, a country that was no more than a doubt 70 years ago, I know what existential threat means. We know how it feels to be uncertain about your future and what challenges it brings to the individual and the society when you are constantly dealing with terror and constantly surrounded by enemies. 

Luckily, in Israel, the doubt for our existence wound up to be a certainty. But this is not the case all over the world. Definitely not in our neighborhood, the Middle East.

Because, as you know, some people in the Middle East are far from being certain about their life or future. The people of Syria are one example of many.

As a strong advocate for peace, equality and the power of the individual to have an impact, I know that we will eventually reach peace someday. I am certain about it. The question is what each and every one of us will do in order to reach peace and what we, as parliamentarians, will do about it. 

Peace is always my first choice, and I truly believe that peace is the choice of most Israelis and most Palestinians. Peace should always be our first choice as individuals, societies, states and parliaments around the world.

But the fact is that peace is not always easy to achieve and, unfortunately, is not always desired by all.

Because the sad fact is that there are people who don't wish for peace. There are people and organizations that don't wish to live in this world next to other people.

We, as parliamentarians, should make it clear to those evil forces that living here instead of us is not an option.

When I meet with Israel's enemies I tell them: You have to choose if you want to live here in the Middle East next to us or instead of us. 

Because if you want to live here next to us, we have every duty and obligation to strive for peace, to reach out our hands for peace and to try and bring peace, together.

But, if you wish to live here instead of us, you should know it will never ever happen. Because we are here to stay.

This is exactly the message that all of us should promote to the enemies of peace, to those who wish to live here instead of us and not next to us.

Four years ago, I established the Two-State Solution Caucus at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. I worked hard, and I published a long and comprehensive peace plan for the resolution of the Israeli-Arab and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Unlike other peace plans, my plan is not only future based, but also suggests “what went wrong” in the past and what can be done today and tomorrow, in order to advance peace.

I presented my peace plan in Israel, at leading universities around the world, and at various parliaments around the world.

I'm working for peace because I truly believe that peace is not a luxury; peace is an obligation, peace is a necessity, peace is a way of life.

And since we are in this impressive forum of international parliamentarians for peace, let us all decide to act together within our parliaments to help our societies build bridges for peace. Let’s decide to advance peace in every possible way, and in every corner we can.

As many states around the world, including Israel and Arab states, proved before: peace is reachable, peace is doable, peace is a matter of decision with strong and courageous leadership.

So let us all work hard for peace and let’s bring peace together.


Hon. Hilik Bar, Deputy Speaker, Knesset, Israel

Hon. Hilik Bar is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and a Member of Knesset for the Israeli Labor Party, where he currently serves as the party’s Secretary General. Hon. Bar also chairs the Knesset Caucus for the Solution for the Israeli-Arab Conflict (also known as the Two-State Solution Caucus), and the Knesset Caucus for Furthering Relations between Israel and Europe.

To go to the 2017 World Summit Conference Schedule, click here.