Foreign ministers conclude Negev summit
Foreign ministers conclude Negev summit Essy Efrati

The Negev summit, which took place Monday afternoon in the southern town of Sde Boker, has been proclaimed the "answer to terror" by the participating foreign ministers.

Attending the summit are the foreign ministers of Israel, the US, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) began his statements saying, "Last night, for the second time in about a week, terror has hit the heart of Israel - the very heart of Israel from two perspectives: The heart of an Israeli city, and the heart of every Israeli."

"We had here murder for the sake of murder, terror for the sake of terror. The purpose was to kill as many innocent people as possible, and to spill as much blood as possible."

Lapid added, "A short time after the terror attack, I heard words of praise from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which claimed that the attack was a response to the Negev summit. The terrorists' purpose was to provoke us...to delay the connections and relationships which we are creating here."

"They will not succeed," he stressed. "We will not let them. We have no intention of giving a prize to terrorists. We have no intention of allowing them to run our lives, to decide our policies. Israel is a strong and proud country and will never surrender to terror."

"We have decided to turn the Negev summit into a scheduled forum which takes place each and every year. Together with our closest ally, the US, today we are opening the door to the nations of this region, including the Palestinians, offering them to change the path of terror and destruction and to share with us a future of progress and success."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, "I would like to begin by condemning the horrific terror attack last night, in which two police officers, age 19, were murdered. In the name of President Biden and the American nation, our hearts are with the families of the murdered. No family should have to experience such a loss, and we support Israel in its battle against terror."

"What we are doing here, as Yair Lapid said, is the answer to terror," he added.

About Iran, Blinken said, "Together, we will manage all of our shared challenges - including Iran."

"The peace agreements made are not a replacement for a process with the Palestinians," he stressed. "At the summit, we also spoke about how the countries present here can aid in their benefit."

Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani said, "It was a great pleasure for me to participate in this summit. I want to begin by condemning the terror attack last night, and express condolences to the families of those killed."

"I emphasize our uncompromising stance against terror. We must turn the Abraham Accords into actions and practicality against the forces of terror, as well as against Hezbollah and the Iranian aggression."

He added, "The Kingdom of Bahrain has always been convinced of peace, dialogue, and coexistence. Today is an important and timely moment to build upon the historical achievements of the Abraham Accords, to lead to prosperity in the region, and to fulfill the aspirations of the region's nations."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said, "The discussions were constructive and good, and focused on the shared threats and challenges. We see the development of relations between Israel and Egypt and see that the path which we paved 44 years ago is being expressed in reality. We spoke about the importance of the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, about the importance of the two-state solution in which East Jerusalem is the capital for the Palestinians. This is an important issue, and Egypt would like Israel and the Palestinians to end the conflict."

Nasser Bourita, Morocco's Foreign Minister, said, "We support the two-state solution, an Israel and a Palestine which live alongside each other and East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinians. We think it is possible."

"The summit is not an opportunist step but rather a natural decision based on the relationships between the countries. I learned that entire streets of residents in Dimona and Yeruham come from Morocco."

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said, "Since the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, we have lost 43 years during in which we did not know each other, in which we could have changed the narrative nations were raised to hear. This is our first time in Israel. We want to know things about it, and we are curious. This is the time to build strong relationships."

"I see 3,000 Israeli tourists arriving in the Emirates, that expresses how much we want to get to know each other. It reflects how much we oppose what happened last night."

Following on from his meeting with Bourita at the Negev Summit, Lapid said, "The Negev summit sends a strong message to extremist forces, led by Iran, who are attempting to destabilize the region."

"What we are building is a united front committed to peace, prosperity, and stability. A special relationship that will work together to counter attacks against Bahrain and the UAE, terror attacks against Israel, and attempts to weaken Moroccan sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"We are determined to bring prosperity and peace to this region and beyond. In this context, Spain's statement last week in support of Morocco's autonomy plan for the Western Sahara, which others have already endorsed, is a positive development."

Yair Lapid and Nasser Bourita
Yair Lapid and Nasser Bourita Boaz Oppenheim, GPO