President Clinton Israel PLO Peace Treaty
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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 13, 1993


The South Lawn

11:15 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Prime Minister Rabin, Chairman Arafat,
Foreign Minister Peres, Mr. Abbas, President Carter, President Bush,
distinguished guests.

On behalf of the United States and Russia, cosponsors of
the Middle East peace process, welcome to this great occasion of
history and hope.

Today, we bear witness to an extraordinary act in one of
history's defining dramas, a drama that began in the time of our
ancestors when the word went forth from a sliver of land between the
river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. That hallowed piece of earth,
that land of light and revelation is the home to the memories and
dreams of Jews, Muslims and Christians throughout the world.

As we all know, devotion to that land has also been the
source of conflict and bloodshed for too long. Throughout this
century, bitterness between the Palestinian and Jewish people has
robbed the entire region of its resources, its potential, and too many
of its sons and daughters. The land has been so drenched in warfare
and hatred, the conflicting claims of history etched so deeply in the
souls of the combatants there, that many believe the past would always
have the upper hand.

Then, 14 years ago, the past began to give way when, at
this place and upon this desk, three men of great vision signed their
names to the Camp David Accords. Today we honor the memories of
Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. (Applause.) And we salute the wise
leadership of President Jimmy Carter. (Applause.)

Then, as now, we heard from those who said that conflict
would come again soon. But the peace between Egypt and Israel has
endured, just so this bold new venture today, this brave gamble that
the future can be better than the past must endure. (Applause.)

Two years ago in Madrid, another president took a major
step on the road to peace by bringing Israel and all her neighbors
together to launch direct negotiations. And today we also express our
deep thanks for the skillful leadership of President George Bush.

Ever since Harry Truman first recognized Israel, every
American President -- Democrat and Republican -- has worked for peace
between Israel and her neighbors. Now the efforts of all who have

labored before us bring us to this moment -- a moment when we dare to
pledge what for so long seemed difficult even to imagine: that the
security of the Israeli people will be reconciled with the hopes of
the Palestinian people and there will be more security and more hope
for all. (Applause.)

Today, the leadership of Israel and the Palestine
Liberation Organization will sign a declaration of principles on
interim Palestinian self-government. It charts a course toward
reconciliation between two peoples who have both known the bitterness
of exile. Now both pledge to put old sorrows and antagonisms behind
them and to work for a shared future, shaped by the values of the
Torah, the Koran, and the Bible.

Let us salute, also, today the government of Norway for
its remarkable role in nurturing this agreement. (Applause.) But of
all -- above all,
let us today pay tribute to the leaders who had the courage to lead
their people toward peace, away from the scars of battle, the wounds
and the losses of the past toward a brighter tomorrow. The world
today thanks Prime Minister Rabin, Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman
Arafat. (Applause.)

Their tenacity and vision has given us the promise of a
new beginning. What these leaders have done now must be done by
others. Their achievement must be a catalyst for progress in all
aspects of the peace process. And those of us who support them must
be there to help in all aspects. For the peace must render the people
who make it more secure. A peace of the brave is within our reach.
Throughout the Middle East, there is a great yearning for the quiet
miracle of a normal life.

We know a difficult road lies ahead. Every peace has its
enemies -- those who still prefer the easy habits of hatred to the
hard labors of reconciliation. But Prime Minister Rabin has reminded
us that you do not have to make peace with your friends. And the
Koran teaches that if the enemy inclines toward peace, do thou also
incline toward peace.

Therefore, let us resolve that this new mutual
recognition will be a continuing process in which the parties
transform the very way they see and understand each other. Let the
skeptics of this peace recall what once existed among these people.
There was a time when the traffic of ideas in commerce and pilgrims
flowed uninterrupted among the cities of the fertile crescent. In
Spain and the Middle East, Muslims and Jews once worked together to
write brilliant chapters in the history of literature and science.
All this can come to pass again.

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Chairman: I pledge the active
support of the United States of America to the difficult work that
lies ahead. (Applause.)

The United States is committed to ensuring that the
people who are affected by this agreement will be made more secure by
it and to leading the world in marshalling the sources necessary to
implement the difficult details that will make real the principles to
which you commit yourselves today.

Together let us imagine what can be accomplished if all
the energy and ability the Israelis and the Palestinians have invested
into your struggle can now be can now be channelled into cultivating
the land and freshening the waters, into ending the boycotts and
creating new industry, into building a land as bountiful and peaceful
as it is holy. Above all, let us dedicate ourselves today to your
region's next generation. In this entire assembly, no one is more
important than the group of Israeli and Arab children who are seated
here with us today. (Applause.)

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Chairman: this day belongs to
you. And because of what you have done, tomorrow belongs to them.

We must not leave them prey to the politics of extremism and despair,
to those who would derail this process because they cannot overcome
the fears and hatreds of the past. We must not betray their future.
For too long, the young of the Middle East have been caught in a web
of hatred, not of their own making. For too long they have been
taught from the chronicles of war. Now, we can give them the chance
to know the season of peace. For them we must realize the prophecy of
Isaiah, that the cry of violence shall no more be heard in your land,
nor wrack nor ruin within your borders. The children of Abraham, the
descendants of Isaac and Ishmael, have embarked together on a bold
journey. Together, today, with all our hearts and all our souls, we
bid them shalom, salaam, peace. (Applause.)

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. President, I would like to
thank you and the great American people for peace and support.
Indeed, I would like to thank all those who have made this day
possible. What we are doing today is more than signing an agreement,
it is a revolution. Yesterday a dream, today a commitment.
The Israeli and the Palestinian people who fought each
other for almost a century have agreed to move decisively on the path
of dialogue, understanding, and cooperation.

We live in an ancient land. And as our land is
small, so must our reconciliation be great. As our wars have been
long, so must our healing be swift. Deep gaps call for lofty bridges.
I want to tell the Palestinian delegation that we are sincere, that we
mean business. We do not seek to shape your life or determine your
destiny. Let all of us turn from bullets to ballots, from guns to
shovels. We shall pray with you. We shall offer you our help in
making Gaza prosper and Jericho blossom again. (Applause.) Gaza
prosper and Jericho blossom again. (Applause.)

As we have promised, we shall negotiate with you a
permanent settlement, and with all our neighbors a comprehensive peace
-- peace for all. (Applause.) We shall support the agreement with
an economic structure. We shall convert the bitter triangle of
Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis into a triangle of political
triumph and economic prosperity. We shall lower our barriers and
widen our roads so goods and guests will be able to move freely all
over the places, holy and other places.

This should be another genesis. We have to build a new
commonwealth on our old soil -- a Middle East of the people and a
Middle East for the children. For their sake, we must put an end to
the waste of arms race and invest our resources in education.

Ladies and gentlemen, two parallel tragedies have
unfolded. Let us become a civic community. Let us bid once and for
all farewell to wars, to threats, to human misery. Let us bid
farewell to enmity, and may there be no more victims on either side.

Let us build a Middle East of hope, where today's food is
produced and tomorrow's prosperity is guaranteed -- a region with a
common market, a Near East with a long-range agenda. We owe it to our
fallen soldiers, to the memories of the victims of the Holocaust.

Our hearts today grieve for the lost life of young and
innocent people yesterday in our own country. Let their memory be our
foundation we are establishing today a memory of peace on fresh and
old pomp. (Applause.) Suffering is, first of all, human. We also
feel for the innocent loss of Palestinian life. We begin a new day.
The day may be long and the challenges enormous. Our calendar must
meet an intensive schedule. Mr. President, historically, you

are presiding over a most promising day in the very long history of
our region, of our people.

I thank all of you, ladies and gentlemen, and let's pray
together. Let's add hope to determination as all of us since Abraham
believe in freedom, in peace, in the blessing of our great land and
great spirit. (JEWISH PRAYER OFFERED.)

From the eternal city of Jerusalem, from this green,
promising lawn of the White House, let's say together in the language
of our Bible: peace, peace to him that is far off and to him that is
near saith the Lord, and I will heal him. Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. ABBAS: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, in these
historic moments, with feelings of joy that are mixed with a maximum
sense of responsibility regarding events that are affecting our entire
region, I greet you and I greet this distinguished gathering. I hope
that this meeting in Washington will prove to be the onset of a
positive and constructive change that will serve the interests of the
Palestinian and the Israeli peoples.

We have come to this point because we believe that
peaceful coexistence and cooperation are the only means for reaching
understanding and for realizing the hopes of the Palestinians and the
Israelis. The agreement we will sign reflects the decision we made in
the Palestine Liberation Organization to turn a new page in our
relationship with Israel. (Applause.)

We know quite well that this is merely the beginning of a
journey that is surrounded by numerous dangers and difficulties. And
yet, our mutual determination to overcome everything that stands in
the way of the cause for peace -- our common belief that peace is the
only means to security and stability, and our mutual aspiration for a
secure peace characterized by cooperation -- all this will enable us
to overcome all obstacles with the support of the international
community. And here, I would like to mention in particular the United
States government, which will shoulder the responsibility of
continuing to play an effective and a distinct role in the next stage,
so that this great achievement may be completed. And here I would like
to mention in particular the United States government, which will
shoulder the responsibility of continuing to play an effective and a
distinct role in the next stage so that this great achievement may be

In this regard, it is important to me to affirm that we
are looking forward with a great deal of hope and optimism to a date
that is two years from today when negotiations over the final status
of our country are set to begin. We will then settle the remaining
fundamental issues, especially those of Jerusalem, the refugees and
the settlements. At that time, we will be laying the last brick in
the edifice of peace whose foundation has been established today.

Economic development is the principal challenge facing
the Palestinian people after years of struggle during which our
national infrastructure and institutions were overburdened and
drained. We are looking to the world for its support and
encouragement in our struggle for growth and development which begins

I thank the government of the United States of America
and the government of the Russian Federation for the part they played
and for their efforts and their sponsorship of the peace process. I
also appreciate the role played by the government of Norway in
bringing about this agreement, and I look forward to seeing positive
results soon on the remaining Arab-Israeli track so we can proceed
together with our Arab brothers on this comprehensive quest for peace.
Thank you. (Applause.)

(Foreign Minister Peres signs the agreement.)
(Mr. Abbas signs the agreement.)
(Secretary Christopher Signs the agreement as witness.)
(Foreign Minister Kozyrev signs the agreement as

Minister, Chairman Arafat, members of Congress, distinguished
visitors, guests, friends and colleagues, I'm honored to have
witnessed the signing of this agreement on behalf of the United

Millions of people have dreamed of this moment -- this
moment for this very region. The Israelis and the Palestinians have
taken a dramatic step toward a just, lasting and comprehensive peace
that can lift the lives of the people of the Middle East. They
overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles in framing the Declaration
of Principles and the terms for a mutual recognition. They've broken
through the barriers of hatred and fear. Throughout the process,
they've demonstrated extraordinary courage and statesmanship. This
gives genuine hope that they will complete the journey that has been
begun today.

This achievement was the product of a sustained effort,
international in scope, and thoroughly bipartisan here in the United
States. The foundation for the breakthrough, as the President said,
was laid at the Madrid Conference of October 1991, which overcame the
impediments to direct Arab-Israeli talks and launched a real peace
process. The Madrid success, in turn, could not have been realized
without its own foundation, the 1978 Camp David Accords, and the 1974
and '75 disengagement agreements involving Israel, Egypt and Syria.

In the distinguished group here assembled today seated
down here in the front rows, I see those responsible not only for
today's breakthrough, but also men and women who have toiled for
decades in the search for peace in the Middle East. I salute and
congratulate each one of you. (Applause.)

I also salute and congratulate those who have helped at
particular times. In particular, I express appreciation to Foreign
Minister Holst and his Norwegian colleagues who worked under very
difficult circumstances -- (applause) -- and made it possible to
facilitate the negotiation of the Declaration of Principles. We also
owe a debt of gratitude to Foreign Minister Moussa and his Egyptian
colleagues, and many many others who gave unstinting help to the peace
process. (Applause.)

We are all proud of this remarkable achievement. But we
also understand that much more remains to be done if this newly
planted tree is to bear fruit.

The United States is committed to a comprehensive peace
between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors. We hope and believe
that this agreement will spur progress in the talks between Israel and
Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. The United States is prepared to do its
part in the negotiations that lie ahead. We will spare no effort in
helping the parties turn the agreements at the table into realities on
the ground. We will remain a full partner in the search for peace.

But, certainly, we are not the sole partner. We need the
entire international community to join us in this work and to oppose
any effort to subvert the peace. This Israeli-Palestinian agreement
cannot be permitted to fail. (Applause.) Many, many problems remain
to be solved. Today's historic agreement demonstrates that the Middle
East does not need to be a cauldron of

hostility, it can instead be a cradle of hope. Thank you.

Minister, the Chairman: On behalf of President Yeltsin, I would like
to congratulate you and other colleagues and friends here who made
possible, through their committed effort and goodwill, this major step
on the long road to comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

I think it's really time to rejoice, but no time for
euphoria. Unfortunately, this is only first step -- major, but first
step -- on the long, long road. And I would like to assure you that
Russia is one of the cosponsors, not only witnesses, but cosponsors.
So the peace process will spare no effort together with the United
States, with the United Nations and other interested parties to go on,
on this road and not let this major event to fail. It is --(applause)
-- it is only ironic that in time when Middle Eastern peace process
seems to be on track -- and I'm sure it will move towards lasting
peace -- there are other forces which threaten security in the region.

Three days ago I was in Kabul, Afghanistan and on the
Tajik-Afghan border. And even there we can see those forces of
subversion, terrorism and extremism -- religious, and not only

religious, political extremism -- doing their destructive job. I know
that in other parts of this region, there are also signs of this new
danger, and I hope that we will not limit our joint effort only to the
peace between Israel and its neighbors, not only for the cause of
Palestinians to gain their legitimate rights, but also to see for
stability in the whole region. And in this, Russia will be also true
and determined cosponsor. (Applause.)

Once again, thank you for the effort done by all of the
distinguished presidents, foreign ministers, actual and former. And I
hope that further generations of politicians will be not so much doing
with the peace, but rather with a peace dividend in the Middle East.
It's high time for that. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER RABIN: President Clinton, the President
of the United States; your excellencies; ladies and gentlemen.

This signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of
Principle here today, it's not so easy -- neither for myself, as a
soldier in Israel's war, nor for the people of Israel, not to the
Jewish people in the diaspora, who are watching us now with great hope
mixed with apprehension. It is certainly not easy for the families of
the victims of the wars, violence, terror whose pain will never heal,
for the many thousands who defended our lives in their own, and have
even sacrificed their lives for our own. For them, this ceremony has
come too late. Today, on the eve of an opportunity -- opportunity for
peace -- and perhaps end of violence and wars, we remember each and
every one of them with everlasting love.

We have come from Jerusalem, the ancient and eternal
capital of the Jewish people; we have come from an anguished an
grieving land; we have come from a people, a home, a family, that does
not know a single year -- not a single month -- in which mothers have
not wept for their sons. We have come to try and put an end to the
hostilities so that our children, our children's children, will no
longer experience the painful cost of war, violence and terror.
(Applause.) We have come to secure their lives and to ease the soul
and the painful memories of the past, to hope and pray for peace.

Let me say to you, the Palestinians, we are destined to
live together on the same soil, in the same land. We, the soldiers
who have returned from battles stained with blood, we who have seen
our relatives and friends killed before our eyes, we who have attended
their funerals and cannot look into the eyes of their

parents, we who have come from a land where parents bury their
children, we who have fought against you, the Palestinians, we say to
you today in a loud and a clear voice: enough of blood and tears.

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