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Not many know that Kazakhstan has been providing aid to other countries for the last two decades. A few years ago, the country adopted a law on official development assistance (ODA) and has subsequently launched two pilot projects with the international partners. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign Economic Policy Department Director Olzhas Issabekov talked about those projects, as well as the establishment of the country’s ODA system.

“The first project under Kazakhstan’s ODA system was done in April 2017. It was focused on Central Asian countries and the agricultural sector. We implemented the project in partnership with Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation. The essence of the project was that Kazakh experts in the field of agriculture, in partnership with Israeli experts, transferred practical knowledge and skills to representatives of Central Asian countries working in agriculture. In fact, these were two-week seminars in Almaty and Akmola regions on the site of successful demonstration farms, where methods and subtleties, for example, of drip irrigation, were visually presented,” he said.

Israel is one of the world leaders in the use of drip irrigation, which is why it was one of the partners of the project, he added.

The second project, focused on Afghan women, is currently being executed. The first part is complete, while the second is planned for late March – early April.

“The agreement on the project was reached at the highest political level in 2015 during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Astana, following which a joint statement was issued with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. One of the points of this statement is an agreement on the implementation of a pilot project under the Kazakhstan ODA system in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),” said Issabekov.

The project aims to increase the economic potential of Afghan women. As technical assistance, it involves the transfer of knowledge and experience.

The project is co-financed by UNDP and JICA. Kazakhstan is contributing experts in the relevant fields who provide their knowledge and skills.

A group of Afghan citizens, mainly women involved in public administration and NGOs, came to Kazakhstan last July for the first part of the project. The training centred on state management and reform as well as the interaction between state and non-state sectors.

The second section is related to health care of mothers and children, he said. The Afghan group will again fly to the Kazakh capital for classes.

Issabekov thanked Nazarbayev University, one of the main partners for the project. A large number of seminars and training were held on its campus.

“The project is unique. It is aimed at supporting an important country for us – Afghanistan; on the other hand, thanks to the partnership with UNDP and JICA, our experts enrich their knowledge and practical experience in the course of its implementation,” he explained. “From the point of view of relations with Afghanistan, this project fits into the framework of the luggage of Kazakhstan-Afghanistan cooperation in the field of assistance and sustainable development, which already exists.”

These two projects were implemented in the framework of the fledgling ODA mechanism in Kazakhstan.

Yet, at first, Kazakhstan had little experience in the ODA concept.

“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan became an independent country, located in a region which, unfortunately, was facing issues requiring attention not only of these countries but also its neighbors. Kazakhstan initially positioned itself as a responsible player and participant in the regional processes… Therefore, it is important to say that since the first days of independence, Kazakhstan has been providing necessary assistance,” said Issabekov.

Prior to adopting its ODA system, Kazakhstan has already provided about $450 million in aid during 20 years. A large proportion was for humanitarian projects.

“But we must admit that for a young independent state, providing assistance has become a new direction. Therefore, unfortunately,  we cannot say that it was always properly coordinated, that it was always possible to monitor the effective use of the resources and some other material benefits allocated by our country to those countries to which this assistance was addressed. All this led to understanding by the leadership of the country that since such an activity is conducted by Kazakhstan, it is time to put it on a systematic basis, as many countries in the world do, where this sphere is very structured and all processes are regulated,” he added.

The first step was approving the Concept in the sphere of ODA, which was adopted by a presidential decree in 2013.

“The concept is a kind of algorithm, a roadmap for how we move, what actions need to be taken for Kazakhstan to have its own national system for official development assistance. One of the most important points of this document was the creation and adoption of the necessary legal and regulatory framework – the law,” said Issabekov.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs started from scratch, as Kazakhstan had no similar legislative acts. The law was preceded by painstaking work to study the legislation of other donor countries. The developers combed through the experience of European, American and Asian countries, adapting the concepts to Kazakh realities to create the law.

“And still, despite the fact that the law was signed in 2014, we receive positive feedback from foreign experts on the quality of our law. Its main advantage is its flexibility; that is, it can be used and applied in various circumstances. The world is changing; nothing stands still,” said Issabekov.

The presidential decree of the main directions of the state policy in the sphere of ODA up to 2020 followed the legislation.

“For a specific period of time, the document sets guidelines for us practically in all areas that should be worked out when carrying out activities in the field of ODA. More precisely, it defines geography and sectors and sets benchmarks in the sources of financing, as well as the partners with whom we can work,” he added.

Throughout the world, ODA is considered one of the most effective instruments of foreign policy and is largely tied to its priorities and tasks. In Kazakhstan, the main state policy directions are synchronized with the Concept of foreign policy and new state policy directions updated every four-five years.

Kazakhstan’s ODA policy states various criteria should be applied when determining geography and partner countries. The first condition is the level of relations between Kazakhstan and the country in question and its need for external development assistance. The most important criterion is the willingness of the country to specifically cooperate with Kazakhstan on aid issues.

“Therefore, at the moment we have identified for ourselves the countries of Central Asia plus Afghanistan as geographic priorities,” said Issabekov, adding that the document also mentions Transcaucasia, Asia and Latin America.

“We are actively working to create a national operator in the ODA field under the Foreign Ministry, which is envisaged by the Concept in the field of ODA,” Issabekov said. “This is the most common formula in the world. ODA activities are closely connected with foreign policy. So, the activities of such agencies should be clearly coordinated with the foreign policy department,”

“The establishment of the Agency for the promotion of international development KazAID is a necessary and key element of the national system of official development assistance. This will solve a number of important daily tasks, in particular, relating to the inventory, systematization, management,  and coordination of ODA that was provided to partner countries in previous years and which will be provided by our country in the future,” he added.

According to the diplomat, the absence of a national operator in the sphere of ODA reduces the effectiveness of work in this area, and the country does not receive in due measure political, economic and image ‘dividends.’


Photo  Zhazira  Dyussembekova , The Astana  Times





UNRWA has often remained silent while Hamas endangers the lives of Palestinians, including refugees, and commits war crimes by using civilian areas to target Israeli citizens. UNRWA spokespeople are quick to make accusations against Israel, but go out of their way to avoid mentioning Hamas.


I wish I could just describe all the ways Israel cooperates with UNRWA, and end it there. I wish I could sit here today and join in with the other speakers to simply thank UNRWA for all the humanitarian work it does, and leave it at that.


However, as the saying goes, "face reality as it is, not as you wish it to be". In reality, UNRWA has a political agenda which casts a long shadow over its humanitarian agenda.


Make no mistake, since UNRWA was established 65 years ago, Israel has supported its important humanitarian mission, and continues to do so today. During this time, UNRWA and Israel have worked hand-in-hand to coordinate hundreds of projects that provide essential services for the Palestinian people. We also recognize UNRWA's important contribution to the welfare of Palestinian refugees.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

When UNRWA was established, their mandate included hundreds of thousands of refugees. Today, UNRWA asserts responsibility for over 5 million refugees. How did the number of refugees increase so dramatically when the purpose of a UN agency is to decrease it?


In 1950, the UN established the High Commissioner for Refugees to assist men, women, and children in dire situations around the world. That agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives and provide a brighter future for the next generation.


According to the UNHCR, you lose your refugee status if you become a citizen of another country. But in the Palestinian case, this restriction does not apply. UNRWA - and UNRWA alone - allows refugees to pass their refugee status to their children and now grandchildren.


If we were to apply UNHCR's standards to count the number of Palestinian refugees worldwide, the figure drops significantly. But the Palestinian refugees aren't counted using the UNHCR standards; they are counted using UNRWA's double standards.


If this politicization of the refugee issue was not enough, recently, UNRWA left no doubt about how deep its "political mission" goes. UNRWA's spokesperson clearly stated that one of UNRWA's goals is to validate the Palestinian narrative. I repeat - to validate the Palestinian narrative. Is 'validating' the Palestinian narrative within UNRWA's mandate? Is this what funding for humanitarian assistance is intended for?


It is no secret that the terrorist group Hamas, the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip, often obstructs humanitarian efforts. The fact that the Commissioner General did not mention today the responsibility Hamas bears for the situation in Gaza - does the Palestinians no favors.


UNRWA has often remained silent while Hamas endangers the lives of Palestinians, including refugees, and commits war crimes by using civilian areas to target Israeli citizens. UNRWA spokespeople are quick to make accusations against Israel, but go out of their way to avoid mentioning Hamas.


UNWRA had over 10,000 employees in Gaza - most of them Palestinian but also many internationals. Where were they when Hamas stockpiled thousands of rockets, many of them in close vicinity to UNWRA facilities. It seems that while they are quick to condemn Israel, when it comes to reporting on Hamas, UNWRA's employees become blind, deaf, and mute.


While Hamas stockpiled rockets in UNRWA schools in order to launch them at Israel from nearby, the UNRWA press statement only managed to condemn, quote, "group or groups responsible". Well, the group responsible has a name - Hamas. And it is an internationally recognized terrorist organization.


While Hamas is doing everything to obstruct reconstruction, Israel is doing everything it can to cooperate with UNRWA to help meet the humanitarian challenges in Gaza. Every day, hundreds of trucks carrying goods enter Gaza from Israel passing through Kerem Shalom crossing which is operating 24/7, at full capacity. In the past year, Israel has provided Gaza with millions of tons of equipment, materials and supplies to assist with reconstruction.


These are facts which we have not heard much of today.

UNRWA's interference with the political process is beyond the scope of its legitimate activities, and endangers the fulfillment of its mandate. Throughout last summer we witnessed UNWRA officials act as judge, jury, and executioner. They reported facts as they saw fit, assigned guilt, and predetermined what the outcome of the process needs to be. Such interferences only deepens the conflicts and distances us from peace.


For instance, UNRWA's recent massive media campaigns are fully in sync with the Palestinian political agenda, and serve no humanitarian purpose. Just listen to Hanan Ashrawi'sAnsari speech today and the usage of the word "justice", which UNRWA is now doing. Take out UNWRA's logo, it could well be an official Palestinian campaign.


UNRWA is also using its educational system to validate the Palestinian narrative, to fuel false promises, and to give credence to dangerous myths. From an early age, Palestinian children are taught that the only solution to their plight is the so-called "Claim of Return". Many UNRWA facilities are decorated with keys, symbolizing this claim of return. Young children are taught that these keys will one day open doors for them - but in truth these keys have them locked in a distorted reality.


The "claim of return", make no mistake, is a euphemism for the destruction of the State of Israel. This "claim" is the real obstacle to the two-state solution, to which Israel and so many of us in this room are fully committed. The only way to achieve peace is through direct negotiations.


The Middle East today is in a state of turmoil. Regimes are unstable, terrorist groups seize and hold territory, and the people suffer the consequences. Palestinian refugees in these countries are caught in the chaos.


In Syria, they face death and displacement from a bloody war. In Lebanon, refugee populations from Syria are denied a place to seek shelter from the ongoing violence. The existing Palestinian populations in Lebanon have for generations been segregated, and isolated from the rest of the Lebanese society.


In light of the real needs of the refugees, it is troubling that UNRWA would focus its resources on political campaigns, even as it cuts humanitarian assistance. Such campaigns only serve to support the Palestinian political agenda, and distance us from achieving peace.


Many of the Arab representatives expressed their so-called concern about situation of the Palestinian refugees. These Arab countries speak today about their suffering. However, when these governments had the opportunity to improve the lives of these refugees, they cynically exploited them for political purposes. Arab governments and the Arab League intentionally continue to sustain the problem of the Palestinian refugees by refusing to give them their basic rights.


Scan the list of UNRWA's top donors, and you will discover that in 2014 nine out of ten of them are western countries. Apparently, when it comes to helping Palestinian refugees, Arab countries can't find their wallets. Not only did the Arab states create and maintain the refugee problem, they expect others to pay for it.


An example of the hypocrisy by Arab states was evident today hearing the Saudi representative attack Israeli actions while Saudi forces are actively and indiscriminately attacking civilians, children's schools and hospitals. Mr. Ambassador, you can't buy your country out of this one so easily.


Mr. Commissioner General,

Even the good intentions are replaced by narrow political interests. In order to achieve the peaceful future we all hope for in the region, UNRWA must choose the right path. It must choose people over politics, neutrality over bias, and truth over propaganda. Only this path can solve the refugee problem rather than perpetuating it.


Thank you.

Ambassador David Roet
Copyright: UN Webcast




President Peres to the Iranian leadership:

"There is an opportunity to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles."

President Peres on the peace process:

"While the peace process is difficult and complicated, we shall not give up.  We shall not postpone it. We shall continue negotiations until a peaceful solution is reached. We negotiate because we disagree. We negotiate to convert disagreement into an agreement."


The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, delivered a speech before a plenary session of the Mexican Senate. President Peres addressed the major challenges, threats and opportunities facing Israel and the international community including the Iranian nuclear threat, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and the importance of strengthening Mexican-Israeli relations.

President Peres addressed the Iranian leadership and the people of Iran and said they have an obligation to end their race for nuclear weapons and abide by the international agreement, "There are countries that try to take advantage of this transition (in the Middle East). And attempt to overpower other countries and stop their march to the new age.  They do it by building nuclear threats, centers of terror, tongues of hatred.  Iran has signed an interim agreement with the P5+1. Success or failure of the deal will be judged by results, not by words. As far as Israel is concerned, we do not consider the Iranian people our enemies.  We do not share a border. We do share a common history.  It demonstrates that we can be friendly. There is an opportunity to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles. Israel like the rest of the international community prefers a diplomatic solution.  But the international community will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. No one threatens Iran. When Iran will cease to threaten others, it will liberate itself from the burden which it has brought upon itself.  I truly hope that this deal will free the Iranian people from being a source of menace and will turn it into a contributing nation for peace. Only time will tell. Israel extends its hand in peace to all its neighbors. But we have learned from bitter experience to beware of tyrants. Tyranny has no message for the future. It offers dark nights instead of enlightened days.   The real promise of progress lies in the employment of science and technology by a society which seeks justice and peace."


President Peres also addressed the attempts to make a breakthrough in the peace talks with the Palestinians and said, "As far as Israel is concerned, our greatest challenge today is to bring an end to the conflict with the Palestinians.  We restarted negotiations with the Palestinians. It is a serious attempt to bring it to a successful conclusion. Peace will open new vistas, both to us and the Palestinians. Each of us – regardless of ethnicity and religion – was created equal in the image of the Lord. And has an equal chance to become better.  We were not born to rule over other people. We have no ambition to control land which is not ours. We have shown it in fact when we made peace with Egypt and peace with Jordan. We returned to them all their land and assets which fell in our hands as a result of wars which we didn't initiate.  This peace withstands the storms in our region. Our negotiations with the Palestinians twenty years ago were opened in Oslo. We were first to recognize the Palestinians as a people. As an opening, we agreed with the Palestinians that they will have autonomy as a first step. Gradually, they would become an independent state, living side by side with the State of Israel.  Later on we decided unilaterally to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, leaving it to the independent control of the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the Hamas organization forced the Palestinian Authority out and turned the Strip into a launching pad, firing missiles against Israeli civilians. There is no reason for it. It is without purpose. It became a setback for all peace-loving people, on both sides.  It interrupted the peace process and it produced a warning that if it should continue likewise in the West Bank, it may bring face the same unfortunate results. I think the entire international community, has to call upon the Hamas in Gaza to stop terror and permit peace. While the peace process is difficult and complicated, we shall not give up.  We shall not postpone it. We shall continue negotiations until a peaceful solution is reached. We negotiate because we disagree. We negotiate to convert disagreement into an agreement. To turn hostility into friendship. To convert conflict into goodwill. While we are still negotiating, we have already an agreement for the basis of the solution: the two state solution.  Two states for two peoples. Living side by side in peace. The opening has happened and the solution is agreed upon. What we have to do is build a bridge between the two."


President Peres addressed relations with Mexico and said, "We salute your leadership, your spirit of innovation, your readiness to take off and fulfill untapped potentials. We have come here as friends in the hopes to create joint initiatives based on Mexican goodwill and Israeli goodwill. I believe that through wide-ranging and daring collaboration, we shall benefit from the fruits of friendship. As I stand before the highest democratic institution of Mexico, I wish to express my high regard for this esteemed democratic forum. Your Senate is a leading force to offer freedom, justice and prosperity to your peoples, to your neighbors, and to the rest of the world.  We are delighted to be your friends, and wish to be your partners in depth, height, and progress."

Earlier in the day President Peres opened the 'Israel-Mexico Business Forum which included 500 Israeli and Mexican companies.



Photo Mark Newman GPO




KKL-JNF is now in the Balkans.
With great fanfare and festivity, KKL-JNF opened its 45th office worldwide, this time in the Podgorica, Montenegro, on November 8, 2013. 

L-R: KKL-JNF Vice Chairman Menachem Leibovic, KKL-JNF Balkan President Jaša Alfandari and Deputy PM and Justice MP Duško Marković. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Six hundred guests from 11 Baltic States came in honor of the grand opening, including Oscar-winning film producer Branko Lustig, who producedSchindler's List and Winds of War

The four keynote speakers at the event were Mr. Menachem Leibovic, KKL-JNF Vice Chairman; Mr. Avi Dickstein, KKL-JNF Executive Director of Resources, Development and Public Affairs; HE Mr. Yosef Levy, Israel Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro, and Dr. Miomir Mugosha, the Mayor of Podgorica. 

The President of brand-new KKL-JNF of the Balkans is Montenegro Jewish community leader Jaša Alfandari

The establishment of the KKL-JNF headquarters of the Balkans was the result of the collaborative effort between KKL-JNF, the Jewish community of Montenegro, and the Government of Montenegro. 

KKL-JNF met with members of the Montenegro government, including the President, the Speaker of the House, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for the Environment, all of whom lent their support to this worthy cause. 

KKL-JNF Executive Director of Resources, Development and Public Affairs Avi Dicksteinthanked the Government of Montenegro and the Jewish community in Podgorica in his speech. Dickstein recalled their visit to Montenegro during Passover of this year, when community leader Jaša Alfandari said "We want to see a KKL-JNF office in Montenegro", and less than six months later, KKL-JNF of the Balkans was established. "It's only the beginning," Mr. Dickstein said. "I'm sure that every week now, people from around the Balkans will come to see and use our facilities. And I invite all of you to Israel to see our 110 years of experience in building and developing the land of Israel, making it green." 

HE Mr. Yosef Levy, Menachem Leibovic and Rabbi of Podgorica in Podgorica synagogue. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

In his address to the audience, Podgorica Mayor Dr. Miomir Mugosha hailed Montenegro as an open country which "welcomes people of all religions and of all nations". With regards to the opening of the KKL-JNF office, he said that this "sends the best message in renewing old friendships and relationships." 

Dr. Mugosha pledged full informational and logistical support from Montenegro's capital for the development of even stronger relations between the two countries, and spoke about the importance of raising awareness amongst Montenegro citizens about Israel's achievements in many fields, especially agriculture. 

Israel's Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro,  spoke about the significance of KKL-JNF in Israel. "Israel and KKL-JNF are synonyms", he said. "Both ideas are connected very strongly with the idea of smart agriculture – the treatment of wastewater, of turning rocky lands into gardens, into fruits, into production, into life, and I think that we can cooperate tremendously with all countries of the Balkans…I have great expectations from the cooperation between KKL-JNF and the lovely state of Montenegro." 

HE Levy also hailed the recent appointment of Montenegro's first ambassador to Israel who will serve in a non-residential capacity."I hope that soon we will have a real embassy of Montonegro in Israel, and maybe one day, an embassy of Israel here," he said. 

Left: Film producer Branko Lustig & Menachem Leibovic
Right: Menachem Leibovic, Avi Dickstein, and Podgorica Mayor Dr. Miomir Mugosha. 

Photos: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

KKL-JNF Vice Chairman Menachem Leibovic thanked the Government of Montenegro for its "great kindness and total support." 

"Montenegro is a small Jewish community, but a very lively and active community, and very important to the State of Israel," he said. "KKL-JNF is known as a well renowned expert inpushing back the desert, and stopping it from expanding, which causes a decline in soil fertility. KKL-JNF would be honored to share our knowledge the government and professional bodies in Montenegro, or in any other country in the Balkans, for that matter."

According to the information reaching Israel, the apparent deal is bad and dangerous for world peace. It lowers the pressure of sanctions that took years to build while Iran retains its nuclear enrichment capability. 
PM Netanyahu addresses Jewish Federations of North America (10 Nov 2013):

"The international community has placed demands on Iran to cease and desist the building of capabilities to produce atomic bombs that will threaten us and threaten the peace of the world. They put together a sanctions regime that has brought Iran to its knees, crippling sanctions. The purpose of those sanctions was to get Iran to dismantle – dismantle – its nuclear enrichment capabilities, which are used for atomic bombs and its heavy water plutonium reactor, which is used for atomic bombs...

Now there's a deal. Why the Iranians came to deal is obvious: because the sanctions are biting their economy, crippling that regime. So they came to the table because they have to. And what is being offered now, and I'm continuously updated in detail, I know what I'm talking about. What is being proposed now is a deal in which Iran retains all of that capacity. Not one centrifuge is dismantled. Not one. Iran gets to keep tons of low enriched uranium, and they can take these centrifuges, which are not dismantled, in the halls, underground – using advanced centrifuges that they've already installed, some of them, that are not dismantled – and they can rush within a few weeks, maybe a couple of months, that's all, and create at the time of their choosing, the fissile material for a bomb.

Iran does not give up anything of that. It makes a minor concession that is meaningless in today's technology and in their current capacities. In other words, none of the demands of the Security Council resolutions, which the P5+1 powers passed are met. None of them! But what is given to them is the beginning of the rollback of sanctions. This means that the sanctions that took years to put in place are beginning to roll back with several billions of dollars of assets that are freed up; the automotive industry contracts that is central to Iran's economy freed up; petrochemical industry freed up; matters that involved gold and even petroleum revenues freed up some...

This is the deal that is proposed now. Iran does not roll back its nuclear weapons-making capacities at all, but the P5+1 are rolling back sanctions. That's a bad deal. It's a dangerous deal because it keeps Iran as a nuclear threshold nation and it may very well bring about a situation where the sanctions are dissolved or collapsed. It's a bad and dangerous deal that deals with the thing that affects our survival...

We shall continue to work with the rest of the world, and it's good that we have now a few days because this is not only in the interest of Israel; this is in the interest of the entire world. Yes, we speak up, but I think there are other nations in this region and perhaps beyond who can now unite and say: we do not want a nuclear Iran and we stand together to make sure that Iran dismantles its enrichment capacities, its heavy water plutonium reactor, all the things that they need to make nuclear weapons. They're not entitled to it and it is possible right now, given the precariousness and vulnerability of the Iranian economy, to press forward the demand for Iran to dismantle its nuclear bomb-making capacity...."

President Peres at state memorial to David Ben-Gurion in Sde Boker (10 Nov 2013):

"Yesterday the P5+1 did not come to an agreement, and rightly so. A deal which does not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power must not be signed. The wording at hand does not answer this requirement. Preventing a nuclear Iran was the P5+1's very purpose and I hope that it remains so. This is also the unyielding position of the State of Israel. We are not opposed to diplomacy to achieve this goal. But there is no point in a deal which would not prevent Iran from becoming nuclear. I believe that our government's position, expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is right."

PM Netanayhu at Cabinet meeting (10 Nov 2013):

"Over the weekend I spoke with US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. 

I told them that according to the information reaching Israel, the apparent deal is bad and dangerous. It is dangerous not just for us, it is also dangerous for them. It is dangerous for world peace because it lowers the pressure of sanctions that took years to build while on the other hand, Iran, in practice, retains its nuclear enrichment capability as well as the ability to advance along the plutonium track. I emphasize that the proffered deal does not include the dismantling of even one centrifuge. 

I asked all the leaders – why the haste? I proposed that they wait, that they consider the matter seriously. This is an historic process and these are historic decisions. I asked to wait. It is good that this is what was decided in the end but I am not deluding myself – there is a strong desire to reach an agreement, I hope not an agreement at any price, and if there is to be an agreement then it needs to be a good agreement and not a bad agreement. I hope that they will reach a good agreement and we will do our utmost to convince the major powers and the leaders to avoid a bad agreement."

PM Netanyahu after meeting with US Secretary Kerry (8 Nov 2013):

"I met Secretary Kerry right before he leaves to Geneva. I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. And the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure.

I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal, a very, very, bad deal. It’s the deal of a century for Iran; it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community."

PM Netanyahu prior to meeting with US Secretary Kerry (8 Nov 2013):

"I understand that the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva, as well they should be, because they got everything, and paid nothing, they wanted. They wanted relief from sanctions after years of a grueling sanctions regime. They got that. They are paying nothing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability. So Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal. This is a very bad deal.

Israel utterly rejects it and what I am saying is shared by many, many in the region whether or not they express it publicly. Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to defend itself, to defend the security of its people."

PM Netanyahu at the conference on joint strategic dialogue between the Government of Israel and world Jewish communities (7 Nov 2013):

"Israel understands that there are proposals on the table in Geneva today that ease the pressure on Iran for concessions that are not concessions at all. The proposal would allow Iran to retain the capabilities to make nuclear weapons. Israel totally opposes these proposals. I believe that adopting them is a mistake of historic proportions. They must be rejected outright.

The sanctions regime has brought the Iranian economy to the edge of the abyss. And the P5+1 can compel Iran to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program. This means ending all enrichment, stopping all work on the heavy water plutonium reactor. Anything else will make a peaceful solution less likely. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself, by itself, against any threat."

PM Netanyahu to delegation of US members of Congress (7 Nov 2013):

"If the news that I am receiving of the impending proposal by the P5+1 is true, this is the deal of the century, for Iran. Because Iran is essentially giving nothing and it's getting all the air taken out, the air begins to be taken out of the pressure cooker that it took years to build in the sanctions regime. What we're having today is a situation that Iran is giving up, at best, a few days of enrichment time, but the whole international regime's sanctions policy has the air taken out of it. That's a big mistake, it will relieve all the pressure inside Iran, it is a historic mistake, a grievous historic error."

PM Netanyahu after meeting with US Secretary Kerry (6 Nov 2013):

"I believe that as long as they continue their goal to enrich uranium, to get nuclear weapons, the pressure should be maintained and even increased because they're increasing enrichment, and I believe that it's possible with intense pressure because of the sanctions regime led in large part by the United States to get Iran to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program, and that's really what we're seeking.

A full, peaceful, complete dismantling of Iran's nuclear weapons capability, end of all enrichment, end of all centrifuges, end of the plutonium reactor. If this is achieved, I'd welcome it. I'd be very worried with any partial deals that enable Iran to maintain those capabilities but begin to reduce sanctions because I think this could undermine the longevity and durability of the sanctions regime."