Historical background to the document "Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the reception on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Israel as a state" (April 30, 1998)

According to the UN resolution 181, adopted in 1947, two states for the Jews and Arabs were to be established after the abolition of the British protectorate over Palestine. But on May 14, 1948, the day of withdrawal of the British troops, the Jewish National Council chaired by David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the state of Israel. This day entered the history as an Independence Day of Israel. Egypt, Syria and Jordan protested and started a war against Israel.

Enjoying the great influence and support of the US as an ally, Israel is also supported by a powerful Jewish lobby in the world. Having grave relations with a number of Moslem states because of the Palestinian problem, Israel has strategic partnership with Turkey.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev not once stated that he was interested in creating close contacts with Israel during his presidency. In August 1997, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Azerbaijan on his way, while returning from South Korea. At the meeting with the President of Azerbaijan the perspectives of the Azerbaijani-Israeli contacts were especially emphasized. During the meeting between the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and Israeli Prime Minister complex directions of cooperation between the two countries were discussed.

President Heydar Aliyev participated in the reception on the occasion of the 50th anniversary establishment of Israel as state on April 30, 1998. In his speech Heydar Aliyev noted that the establishment of the Israeli state was historical event not only for the Jews, but for all the world, and the Jews had numerous sufferings until achieving this goal: "After suffering great hardships, calamities and oppression for centuries, finally the Jews build their national and independent state. Injustices against the Jewish people, and finally, a terrible genocide and massacre were committed against the Jews during the Second World War angered all the humanity.

The Azerbaijani President reminded to the guests that genocides were committed against the Azerbaijani people in the last two centuries, he denounced the atrocities perpetuated against the Jews. Talking about the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations, President Heydar Aliyev said he hoped that this cooperation and contacts would develop hence, and be useful for the both nations.

President Heydar Aliyev met the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the OSCE Istanbul Summit on November 18, 1999. During the meeting they exchanged views on the development of the contacts between the two countries, ongoing processes in the international arena. The Azerbaijani President once more said that he was interested in the development of contacts with Israel. (http://www.bizimasr.media-az.com/)

Cooperation continues between Azerbaijan and Israel in the framework of the United Nations and other international organizations. Israel supports Azerbaijan in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and in the effort for the repeal of Section 907 to the Freedom Support Act. (http://www.mfa.gov.az/)

A delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel visited Azerbaijan on January 11, 1999. The Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev received the Israeli guests. Expressing satisfaction with the state of the Azerbaijani-Israeli contacts, President Heydar Aliyev stressed that the both states must use all possibilities for more development of them.

On December 4, of the same year an Israeli delegation headed by the chairman of the trilateral Azerbaijani-Israel-US Inter-parliamentary Commission Ephraem Sneh visited Azerbaijan for celebrating the Hanukkah, the holiday of joy and light of Jews. The delegation was received by President Heydar Aliyev. The parties expressed the desire to strengthen the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations, and Azerbaijan needed the support of Israel in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh. He also said that Israel was one of the countries actively supporting Azerbaijan for the repeal of Section 907. Heydar Aliyev declared that the rights of the Azerbaijani Jews are protected.

Visits of the Israeli officials to Azerbaijan in various years are very important. The visit of MP`s headed by vice-chairman of the Parliament Amnon Kohen on April 16-18, 2007, and the first Deputy General Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel are proofs of the said.

Established in 1991 at the initiative of the Jewish community of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani communities of Israel the World Jewish Association named Sohknut renders exceptional assistance to the grow the of the Azerbaijani-Israeli contacts.

On April 12, 2007, in Tel-Aviv the founding congress of the Azerbaijani-Israeli International Association was held. It was a bright example of the steps taken for the development of the Azerbaijani-Israeli contacts. The Congress touched upon the historical contacts between the peoples of Azerbaijan and Israel. It was emphasized that the Jewish community numbers 16.000 in Azerbaijan and there is no anti-Semitism in Azerbaijan. Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Planning Avogador Lieberman highly appreciated the relations between Azerbaijan and Israel. Joseph Shagal, former resident of Baku origin, an Israeli MP, was elected President of the Azerbaijani-Israeli International Association. He declared that they would try for the broadening the political, economic and cultural contacts and strengthening the friendly and fraternal relations between the two states. (http://www.yeniazerbaycan.com/)

A delegation headed by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Planning Avogador Lieberman visited Baku on August 16, 2007. At the meeting President Ilham Aliyev informed them of the successes achieved in Azerbaijan in the sphere of politics, economy and others. In his turn, A. Lieberman said that he was satisfied with the development of the contacts between Israel and Azerbaijan, the ongoing construction works in Azerbaijan greatly impressed him. Saying that he was content with the tolerance and non-discrimination towards Jews in Azerbaijan, Avogador Lieberman also stated that Azerbaijan could be an example for the world in connection with this case.

Historical background was compiled on August 28, 2007.