REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
11:50 A.M. (L)
In his last hour, Yitzhak Rabin, who was a shy person in public, sang to a peace-loving throng of Israelis the Shir Ha Shalom, the Song of Peace. Its words sing out to us today: "Don't say the day will come; make it come." Today, in honor of our friend and leader, we must all say we will make it come -- a new day of peace that is more than the absence of war; a new day of tolerance and respect, of trust and shared destiny, when the fears of the past are released so that the hands and heart are free to embrace the promise of the future.
The enemies of peace remain alive and active. Even in this day we see their dark work. But the Scripture reminds us that evil can be overcome by good, and only by good. So we pursue Yitzhak Rabin's vision not only because we loved and admired him -- although we surely did -- but because it is right and the only way.
We have now a chance, but only a chance, to bring real and lasting peace between
Israel and her neighbors. If we let it slip away, all will bear the consequences:
Israel still trapped within a circle of hostility; the Palestinians still saddled
with poverty and frustration and pain; both and their Arab neighbors wrapped
in an endless and pointless cycle of conflict.
The way ahead will be full of challenges -- for the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanese, for the friends of peace here represented. President Mubarak and King Abdullah will be important to our efforts. I am determined that the United States will do all we can, including living up to the commitments we made at Wye River. But the most important thing we can do today is to say to our friend, Rabin, we can still hear you; we are prepared to finish the job.
When President Kennedy was assassinated, Abba Eban said, "Tragedy is the difference between what is and what might have been." That is the way we felt in the months and years after Prime Minister Rabin was killed. Today, let us say together, we are done with tragedy. We will close the gap between what is and what might have been.
The other night my wife had to the White House one of the great scientists
in our country who is unlocking the mysteries of the human gene. And he said
to us the most astonishing thing -- he said all humanity, genetically, are 99.9
percent the same. And if you get any group, ethnic group, together -- 100 Norwegians
-- with another ethnic group -- 100 West Africans -- you find that the genetic
differences among individuals within each group are greater than the genetic
profile of differences between the Norwegians and the Africans.
Yitzhak Rabin led us in that great reach out -- reaching across the last divide of one-tenth of one percent. It was his greatness. It is his lesson. It is his message to us today. Let us hear him, even as we loved him.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 12:00 P.M. (L)
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