THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||October 23, 1998|
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT WILLIAM CLINTON,
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE,
HIS MAJESTY KING HUSSEIN OF
PRIME MINISTER BINYAMIN NETANYAHU,
CHAIRMAN YASSER ARAFAT ,
AND SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
AT MIDDLE EAST SIGNING CEREMONY
The East Room
4:00 P.M. EDT
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Mr. President, Prime MinisterNetanyahu, Chairman Arafat, Vice President Gore, King Hussein,diplomatic colleagues, distinguished guests, and friends of theMiddle East. We meet this afternoon to mark not a conclusion, butrather a new chapter in the pursuit of permanent peace with securityand justice in the Middle East.
I begin by expressing my admiration for the effort toreach an agreement that was made by both the Israeli and Palestinianleaders and their delegations. The issues considered this week weredifficult and complex. But in the end, both sides made the hardchoices required to move the process forward. In so doing, theydemonstrated leadership, courage and vision.
I express my heartfelt appreciation for thecontributions made by His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan. Hispassion for peace inspired us all to believe that with sufficientfaith and unyielding will, the seemingly unattainable would provewithin our grasp.
I would like to thank the Vice President for his mosthelpful participation in our discussions; and the CIA Director,George Tenet, for his critical assistance at a number of key points.
And most of all, I congratulate President Clinton, whohas given new meaning to the term shuttle diplomacy. This agreementwould not have been reached without his incredible persistence anddetermination. From the outset, he put America squarely on the sideof peace and cleared the path so that both sides could join us there.
Today's ceremony culminates almost a year and a half ofefforts to restore confidence and forward movement to the peaceprocess. It ends a dangerous impasse that has eroded trust andstalled progress towards a broader peace.
The United States hopes that the implementation of thisagreement will spur forward movement on the other tracks of the peaceprocess and lead to improved relations between Israel and all herArab neighbors. Today's agreement is an important way station on theupward path towards peace. It proves again that progress is theproduct of negotiation, while the alternatives of extremism andviolence yield only more stalemate, suffering, and grief.
If we're to continue forward, the parties must rise tothe challenge of implementing their commitments. They must worktogether to resolve differences and prevent new misunderstandings.And they must act in the spirit of peace embodied so vividly at Wyethis week by the courage of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman
Arafat, the persuasiveness of President Clinton, the wisdom of KingHussein, the good sense and good nature of Sandy Berger, and thepatience and skill of Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Aaron Miller, GamalHelal, Toni Verstandig and Jonathan Schwartz.
And now, I am pleased to introduce someone who has had apassion for Middle East peace and security for a long time, and willfor a long time in the future. He has been a major contributor totoday's success: the Vice President of the United States, Al Gore.(Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.Secretary Albright, thank you for your very generous introduction andfor your tireless work in pursuit of peace, your constant travel tothe region, your dedication to the result that is announced today.At Wye Plantation, everyone saw again how your earnest efforts havewon you the trust and respect of the parties involved, and you reliedon that trust to keep these peace talks on track through many a tensemoment. Your country and the world are honored by your service.
I would also like to acknowledge the outstandingcontributions of Sandy Berger, our courageous and rock-steadyNational Security Advisor, whose commitment and counsel have been sovital to the efforts in pursuit of peace. And also, a diplomat ofendless endurance, Dennis Ross, who has served the cause of peacethrough several administrations and has defied fatigue in hisconstant shuttling to points and between points in the Middle East.
I want to join the Secretary in acknowledging the workof George Tenet, and others that deserve credit. To those who willbe speaking and to those who have labored without sleep for nine daysnow, the world is extremely grateful. I would also like toacknowledge Her Majesty Queen Noor and Mrs. Sarah Netanyahu, themembers of the Palestinian delegation and Israeli delegation, membersof President Clinton's Cabinet, members of the House and Senateincluding Senator Kennedy and Senator Biden, Senator Lautenberg,Senator Robb and Congressman Wexler.
A great deal of credit for today's announcement belongsto still another man now in the room, a great statesman of the MiddleEast who you will also hear from, a man who himself made peace withIsrael here at the White House four years ago -- a man long devotedto the cause of peace and whose personal stature as a peacemaker anddramatic appearance and presentation at a key moment inspired theprogress and the success of these talks -- His Majesty King Husseinof the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We're grateful to you, YourMajesty, for your courage in being here. (Applause.)
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat are heroestoday. What they have done has taken genuine courage. But it oftenhappens that even the deepest commitment to peace cannot overcome allobstacles without the strong and active encouragement of an outsideparty, an honest broker, a peacemaker, who shares their passion forpeace and can help both sides clarify their positions, understandtheir options, and overcome their doubts.
In Bosnia, in Haiti, in Northern Ireland, and now againin the Middle East, President Bill Clinton has demonstrated hisuncompromising personal commitment to bringing peace to some of theworld's most troubled regions -- regions that have had too much ofwar and are now seeking a path to peace.
In introducing the President, I would just like to sayto any person who thinks for one moment that the outcome about to besigned here was somehow foreordained, somehow prearranged, expected,I assure you, this was not the case. Far, far from it. No one inthe President's administration, in the Israeli delegation, in thePalestinian delegation had any idea of whether or not this mightreally succeed to the extent that it has. There is no question thatthe personal commitment and perseverance and stamina anddetermination and sheer will of President Clinton was the keyingredient in keeping these talks going beyond the point where it wastime to go to bed and get some sleep, beyond the point where peoplewere willing to give up, and up to the point where it was possible tomake peace. (Applause.)
As a result of that commitment and the courageousdecisions of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat, there isgreater hope today than yesterday that children born tomorrow willknow only peace in the Middle East. We know that the road topermanent peace lies out long before us. But today, we are severalsteps closer to that goal.
And, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride that Ipresent the individual who has been the person responsible for theseforward steps today. On behalf of the American people and the worldcommunity, I would like to say thank you, Mr. President.
President Bill Clinton. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thankyou very much. Mr. Vice President, Madam Secretary, Your Majesty,Prime Minister Netanyahu, Chairman Arafat. To the Israeli andPalestinian delegations, the members of Congress and the Cabinet,members of the diplomatic corps, my fellow Americans who are here.It's a great honor for me to welcome you here. I only wish the FirstLady were here as well. She is in Chicago. We talked a few momentsago, and she sends her great happiness and best wishes, especially toQueen Noor and Mrs. Netanyahu.
After some very difficult negotiations, very long, dareI say, quite sleepless, the Israelis and Palestinians here havereached an agreement on issues over which they have been divided formore than 17 months. This agreement is designed to rebuild trust andrenew hope for peace between the parties. Now both sides must buildon that hope, carry out their commitments, begin the difficult, buturgent journey toward a permanent settlement.
Over the last nine days I have witnessed extraordinaryefforts on behalf of peace. I thank our team, beginning with itshead, the Secretary of State, who showed remarkable creativity,strength and patience. I thank the Vice President for hisinterventions. I thank my good friend, Sandy Berger; our Director ofCentral Intelligence, George Tenet, who had an unusual, almostunprecedented role to play because of the security considerations;our Special Middle East Coordinator, Dennis Ross, who was a young manwith no gray hair when all this began. (Laughter.) I thank all theother outstanding members of our delegation.
I thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, who stood so firmlyfor the security of his citizens and of his country, and of theimpressive members of his Cabinet and administration. I thankChairman Arafat, who tenaciously defended the interests of hispeople, and the very impressive members of his team as well. In theend, after all the twists and turns and ups and downs, all their lateand ultimately sleepless nights, both reaffirmed their commitment tothe path of peace. And for that, the world can be grateful.
And finally, let me thank His Majesty King Hussein,whose courage, commitment, wisdom, and, frankly, stern instruction atappropriate times, were at the heart of this success. Your Majesty,we are all profoundly in your debt.
This agreement is good for Israel's security. Thecommitments made by the Palestinians were very strong, as strong asany we have ever seen. They include continuous security cooperationwith Israel and a comprehensive plan against terrorism and itssupport infrastructure.
This agreement is good for the political and economicwell-being of Palestinians. It significantly expands areas underPalestinian authority to some 40 percent of the West Bank. It alsooffers the Palestinian people new economic opportunities, with anairport and industrial zone, soon safe passage between Gaza and theWest Bank, and in time a seaport. The Palestinian people will beable to breathe a little easier and benefit from the fruits of peace.
Most importantly, perhaps, this agreement is actuallygood for the peace process itself. For 18 months, it has beenparalyzed, a victim of mistrust, misunderstanding and fear. Now,ordinary Israelis and Palestinians once again can become partners forpeace.
To bolster this effort, Chairman Arafat will invitemembers of the Palestinian National Council and other importantpolitical entities to reaffirm his prior commitments and theirsupport for the peace process. I have agreed to address thatmeeting, several weeks hence, and to underscore the values ofreconciliation, tolerance and respect, and my support for thosecommitments and this process.
People around the world should be heartened by thisachievement today. These leaders and those with whom they work havecome a very long way. The Israeli and Palestinian peoples, whosebitter rivalry in this century has brought so much suffering to bothsides, have moved yet another step closer toward fulfilling thepromise of the Oslo Accords; closer to the day when they can livepeacefully as true neighbors, with security, prosperity,self-governance, cooperation and eventually, God willing, genuinefriendship.
No doubt, as peace gains momentum, forces of hate, nomatter how isolated and disparate, will once again lash out. Theyknow this, the leaders, and they are prepared to face it. Staying onthe path of peace under these circumstances will demand even greaterleadership and courage.
The work at Wye River shows what can happen when thewill for peace is strong. But let me say once again to all the restof you -- everyone who is tempted to handicap every little twist andturn over the last nine days, you need to know one overwhelmingthing: The Prime Minister and the Chairman, and the members of theirdelegation who supported this process, even when there were thingsabout it they did not agree with, are quite well aware that theenemies of peace will seek to extract a price from both sides. Theyare quite well aware that in the short run, they themselves may haveput themselves at greater risk. But by pledging themselves to thepeaceful course for the future, to the same values and, ultimately,to the same enemies, they have given both Israelis and Palestinians achance to have the future we all want for our children and ourchildren's children.
Every effort will have to be exerted to ensure thefaithful implementation of this agreement -- not because the partiesdo not want to do so, but because the agreement covers many things,was developed over many days, involved many discussions and sleeplessnights. It will test whether the Palestinian people are prepared tolive in peace, recognizing Israel's permanence, legitimacy and acommon interest in security. It will tell us whether Israelis wantto help build a strong Palestinian entity that can fulfill theaspirations of its people and provide both real security and realpartnership for Palestinians and Israelis.
The United States is determined to be of whatever helpwe can to both sides in their endeavors. I will consult withCongress to design a package of aid to help Israel meet the securitycosts of redeployment, and help the Palestinian Authority meet theeconomic costs of development. I hope we will have support fromRepublicans and Democrats in that endeavor.
With respect to Mr. Pollard, I have agreed to reviewthis matter seriously, at the Prime Minister's request. I have madeno commitment as to the outcome of the review. Ultimately, theparties will have to translate the gains of Wye River into renewedefforts to secure a just and lasting peace. For as big a step astoday is - and after 17 months, it is a very large step, indeed -- itis just another step along the way. Therefore, perhaps as importantas any other statement to be made today, let me say how grateful I amthat the Prime Minister and the Chairman have agreed to beginpermanent status talks upon ratification of this agreement.
I have agreed to convene the two leaders at anappropriate time to seek to complete these talks. We have all agreedto try to do it under circumstances which permit more sleep at night.(Laughter.)
Let me say that no agreement can wipe away decades ofdistrust. But I think these last several days have helped each sideto get a better understanding of the other's hopes and fears, abetter feel for all they have in common, including on occasion, thankthe Lord, a good sense of humor.
The future can be bright for Israelis and Palestiniansif they maintain the will for peace. If we continue to worktogether, the next generation will grow up without fear. Israel canhave the genuine security and recognition it has sought for so long.The Palestinian people can, at long last, realize their aspirationsto live free in safety, in charge of their own destiny.
So, on behalf of all the people of the United States,let me say to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, salaam -- shalom-- peace be with you in the hard and hopeful days ahead. We valueour friendship and we thank you for your trust, for giving us theopportunity to walk this road with you.
Now it is my privilege to introduce Prime MinisterNetanyahu. Let me say, I was, once again, extraordinarily impressedby the energy, the drive, the determination, the will, the completegrasp of every detailed aspect of every issue that this PrimeMInister brought to these talks. He showed himself willing to takepolitical risks for peace, but not to risk the security of hispeople. And as a result, this agreement embodies an enormousincrease in the security of the people of Israel.
Mr. Prime Minister, the microphone is yours.(Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you, Mr. President.Mr. President, Mr. Chairman, the Vice President, Your Majesty, HerMajesty Queen Noor, Madam Secretary, Sandy Berger, their staff andespecially -- especially Dennis, of the white hair and Olympicendurance -- and all the delegations assembled here, and all thedistinguished ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, andthe members of the Senate and Congress, and the many friends who arehere today.
Today's a day when Israel and our entire region are moresecure. Now, this has required sacrifice from both sides, andreaching into what Lincoln called, "the better nature of mankind."This is an important moment to give a secure and peaceful future forour children and the children of our neighbors, the Palestinians. Wehave seized this moment.
I'm asking all people of goodwill, of honesty andcandor, I'm asking all of them to join us in support for thisimportant step for a secure future, a future of peace.
We are more secure today because, for the first sincethe signing of the Oslo Accords, we will see concrete and verifiablecommitments carried out. Our Palestinian partners will join us infighting terrorism. They will follow a detailed and systematic planto fight terrorists and their infrastructure; to jail killers thathave so far roamed at large; to stop vitriolic incitement; and aboveall, finally, after 35 years, to cancel the articles in thePalestinian Charter which call for the destruction of Israel.
This means that our world today will be safer for ourchildren and for our neighbors' children. But it has been said here,and it's true, that we are just at the beginning, or maybe at themiddle, of the road to a permanent peace. We will soon embark onnegotiations for a permanent peace settlement between our twopeoples. Now, I guarantee you it will not be easy and it will not besimple and it will be, Mr. President, despite your best wishes,sleepless. I guarantee you. (Laughter.)
Mr. Chairman, I guarantee that to you, too. (Laughter.)
But I am today brimming with some confidence -- and notoverconfidence -- simply because we have overcome tremendouschallenges and achieved success for both sides -- not at the expenseof one side and the benefit of the other, but success and advantageand progress for both sides. And that fills me with the confidencethat we are able to tackle the larger challenges that still await usand that still await our two peoples.
There are so many people that I could thank in theAmerican delegation. It's a wonderful one, headed by the Secretaryof State and Sandy Berger and George Tenet and the team that wasthere -- Dennis and Gamal -- (laughter) -- a provider of cigars --(laughter) -- and good humor -- and so many others.
But I want to especially thank President Clinton. He is-- if I can borrow a cliche -- he is a warrior for peace. I mean, hedoesn't stop. He has this ability to maintain a tireless pace and tonudge and prod and suggest. and use a nimble and flexible mind totruly explore the possibilities of both sides, and never just of oneside. That is a great gift, I think a precious and unique one. Andit served us well.
So I thank you, Mr. President, for serving us and thecause of peace well. (Applause.) I thank you, too, for yourboundless optimism, without which these qualities cannot come intoeffect. You needed a lot of optimism.
I want to thank Chairman Arafat. Mr. Chairman, you'recooperation was invaluable. And I want to thank you, personally,once again, for the kind wishes you extended me on a birthday that Ishall never forget. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
I want to thank Minister Sharansky -- Mr. Sharansky isin Israel. He is celebrating now his daughter's Bat Mitzvah. I'msure you all send him your best and excuse him for not being here.But he and Defense Minister Mordechai and Foreign Minister ArielSharon brought to Wye their patriotism and their commitment. Theyare great patriots. They are people who have put themselves in linefor their country and their people. And they've brought all thatexperience, all that courage and all that perseverance, all thatskill, and they assisted me and the state of Israel in ways that Ithink should be recounted, and probably will repeat themselves, Ihope, in the new future in a successful bid for peace.
And I want, most especially, to thank two people at theclose. I want to thank King Hussein, who visited us twice. And,Your Majesty, you gave us an unforgettable and inspiring example ofcourage and humanity, and it moved me deeply. It moved every one ofour people and our delegates deeply, and I thank you for that.(Applause.)
And, lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Sarah, whojoined me, who offered me support and a great deal of wisdom in sometrying moments, and who constantly reminded me of our two children,of all the children for whom we toil and dream and pray.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Let me say, I wish that all of you whocare about this could have seen at least a portion of what I saw inthe last nine days in the interchanges between Prime MinisterNetanyahu and Chairman Arafat. It was very interesting. They wereso different. I can't imagine Mr. Netanyahu in a khaffeyeh.(Laughter and applause.) But they were very much alike in theirtenacity and their astonishing intelligence and knowledge.
Just as I was able to say a thank-you to Prime MinisterNetanyahu, let me say to Chairman Arafat, I thank you. I thank youfor turning away from violence toward peace. I thank you forembracing the idea that Palestinians and Israelis can actually sharethe land of our fathers together. I thank you for believing that thehome of Islam and Judaism and Christianity can surely be the home ofpeople who love one God and respect every life God has created. AndI thank you for decades and decades and decades of tirelessrepresentation of the longing of the Palestinian people to be free,self-sufficient, and at home.
Mr. Chairman, the microphone is yours. (Applause.)
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: Mr. William Clinton, the President;Mr. Al Gore; Mrs. Madeleine Albright; members of the U.S. delegation;friends; my co-partner -- the new co-partner in the peace process --Mr. Netanyahu; and here I mention my late co-partner, Yitzhak Rabin;and my co-partner Shimon Peres -- members of the Israeli delegationwith whom we worked together until we reached whatever we achieved;my brothers; members of the Palestinian delegation; ladies andgentlemen.
Here in this regard, I would like to give specialtribute from my heart to His Majesty King Hussein, and Her Majesty,the Queen, for everything they presented us.
This is an important and a happy day, a day ofachievement that we will always remember with optimism and hope. Itis true that whatever we achieved is only temporary, that has beenlate. But our agreement in the Wye River underscores that the peaceprocess is going ahead, and that whatever we agreed upon in Madrid,Oslo, and in Washington and Cairo is being implemented on the samebases that have been agreed to, and that we will never go back. Wewill never leave the peace process, and we will never go back toviolence and confrontation. No return to confrontation and violence.(Applause.)
Please allow me to mention in this connection, first andforemost, to direct my talk to Mr. Bill Clinton for the long hourswhich he exerted during the past 10 days, particularly those 24 hoursthat he spent continuously, where he was always alert andunderstanding, creative in order to bring back history between thecousins -- this friendliness that had been separated through wars anddestruction and violence for many years.
And please allow me to present my tribute andacknowledgement to Mr. Al Gore for whatever he did and whatever hedoes for pushing forward and protecting the peace process -- thepeace process of courageous people.
My dear friend, we quite feel grateful to you and to theU.S. people and, indeed, I'm quite comfortable about the future of mypeople and that of the small peoples, having you as a great leader ofthe world at this great level of youth and sincerity and wisdom.This mixture of great things is a gift from God to you and to yourAmerican people, and for humanity as a whole. Your presence at thehead of the international politics brings justice in the balance ofpeace and coexistence, which is just and well-balanced.
I would also like to send this tribute from my heart toHis Majesty King Hussein, for his efforts, even though he has veryspecial health concerns and in spite of the difficulty of thenegotiations that we have gone through.
Please allow me, also, to talk to Mrs. Albright and toMr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. George Tenet. You have worked a lot forlong months, which was strenuous, indeed, during which, my dearMinister, you crossed for thousands of miles for peace and the futureof our children and contributed through your understanding. We allappreciate your efforts.
I would also like to express my gratitude to Mr. DennisRoss and the U.S. team working with them for their efforts with us,for long hours and long days, because they did believe in theimportance of peace for us, for our children after us.
This reconciliation between the two peoples, thePalestinian and the Israeli people, will not divert this path andwill go through negotiations on the table and go through tanks,grenades and barbed wires. We have achieved today a large step, butit is important -- my co-partner, Mr. Netanyahu -- it is important inestablishing the peace process because this is the peace ofcourageous people.
The implementation of the Security Council resolutions242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace, achievement ofpolitical rights of the Palestinian people, and putting every effortpossible in the service of achieving security for all, particularlyfor the Israeli people -- all this will bring us to begin at once andquickly in the negotiations of the final solution that will try toachieve just and peaceful permanent peace in order to complement whattakes place also on the Syrian and the Lebanese paths very soon.
What we achieved together with the leading and effectiverole of President William Clinton and his U.S. team is something, iffully and sincerely implemented, will open the door before thePalestinian and Israeli people for more achievements, more hope, andmore optimism not only for ourselves, but also for the Middle Eastregions as a whole.
Once again, I'm saying that it is a big step that camelate, but it is, indeed, an important one because it will allow thereturn of 13 percent of the Palestinian land on the West Bank to thePalestinian people, to their sovereignty, and will allow to doublethe area where the Palestinian Authority will enjoy full-fledgedauthority and sovereignty. Yes, indeed, it is a step that will allowto the Palestinian airplanes to fly to and from the GazaInternational Airport, carrying visitors and merchandise, carrying tothe whole world the Palestinian flowers and fresh fruit.
It will also open the door to build the Gaza seaport andthe realization of the Palestinian dream of geographic unificationbetween the regions of the Palestinian land in the Bank and Gazathrough a secured area. It will also allow the achievement of realhappiness for hundreds of the prisoners of Palestinians in theIsraeli jails, and also for the families everywhere, liberating them.And I will never forget this, in fact, for Mr. Netanyahu, with theassistance of King Hussein and President Clinton.
I say they will be liberated outside their cells, towhere there is freedom and participation in the completion of what westarted of a peace process and building their free land, with theirheads held high and proud.
I led those children during our struggle for freedom,and they gave their freedom and their lives for the sake of the land.However, they adopted the peace process, adopted peace and stood bypeace, while they were in the jails. And now, they are joining us inour peace process for the sake of peace. It is the peace ofcourageous people.
We have succeeded in the agreement to stop all theunilateral actions that would undermine the final solution and bringabout a difficult climate for negotiations on peace. With thisagreement, we begin the final solution negotiations, which we willtake very seriously, and commitment in order to achieve it on itsstipulated times in all the agreements we signed together, which isthe 4th of May 1999. We will have understanding around this datebetween us and the Israeli partners, and between us and our friendsin the U.S., and between us and our brothers, the Arabs, at theforefront of which is His Excellency, His Majesty King Hussein, andmy brother, President Mubarak, who has been following with commitmentwhat we are doing here in the U.S., and also our brothers, the Arableaders who have been following our work minute by minute. And Iwill not forget the Federation of Russia, as well, and China andJapan, and the states of the non-alignment countries.
In particular I would like to mention, in this regard,the European role, who sent their delegation, Mr. Moratinos, in orderto be here beside us during these negotiations.
We are quite certain that we will stand together here inthis place which is at high level forum, and under the guardianship
of President Clinton, in order to announce the achievement ofpermanent peace between the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples, thatwe have completed the solution of all issues -- the return of theland, the status of Jerusalem, the status of the settlements, thefinal frontiers, and the return of refugees, and the justdistribution of order and security, and good relations with ourneighbors, and that we have achieved freedom and independence andsecurity for all.
We will begin a new era of new relations based onequality, mutual feelings and cooperation between two independent,neighboring countries enjoying security and openness with theirneighbors, in a regional framework that would bring about peace,justice, and stability for all.
Mr. President -- President Clinton; Your Majesty KingHussein; my co-partner, Mr. Netanyahu; Mr. Al Gore; ladies andgentlemen, I talked in hope and optimism about the future, which Ihope will be achieved together through sincere and accurateachievement of whatever we agreed upon. But I would like to, certainin honesty and sincerity, that we are fully committed to whatever isrequired from us in order to achieve real security and constant peacefor every Israeli person and for the Israeli people. We will notforget our duties as we underline our rights.
I am quite confident that I'm talking in the name of allPalestinians when I assure you that we are all committed to thesecurity of every child, woman and man in Israel. Here we have cometo a detailed agreement, and we are committed to play our independentrole to keep security. And we will achieve whatever we promise here.
I will do everything I can so that no Israeli motherwill be worried if her son or daughter is late coming home, or anyIsraeli would be afraid when they heard an explosion. It is truethat nobody can secure 100 percent results of security for allPalestinians and all Israelis. But I am proud that we were able towork together and we will be able to do more together, withassistance of all our friends all over the world, in America and inEurope, and with great commitment to achieve much more in the yearsahead -- yes, indeed.
Ladies and gentlemen, we want achievement of the peaceof courageous people to end this long suffering in order to build anindependent nation having a lot of democracy and caring for hischildren. We want a school and education for every child and youngman. We want a job for every man and woman, and a modern medicalclinic and a hospital, and a small house as well, where everybodyfeels comfortable and where laughter is heard of happy, healthy kids.We want that and more for our neighbors and co-partners, the Israelipeople, and the Arabs.
We want a factory, a lab, an airport and a seaport, aclean environment and an ability to grow and to develop. And on theoccasion of the new millennium, which represents the birth of JesusChrist in Bethlehem, where His light came out to the world , wewould like to receive the whole world now, calling for peace andjustice and freedom, for a world where there is stability, fraternityand cooperation. We would also like to pursue the joint work withour neighbors, the Arabs, as well as the regional work, which iscooperative and successful.
And even though I realize the difficulties that we faceand my full knowledge of whatever we sign today will only trickledown to worthless ink on paper unless it is implemented accuratelyand quickly, so I call upon President Clinton to remain with us,alert and supportive, in order to make sure that we implementeverything we agreed upon. However, I am also happy that I call uponmy sons and children in Palestine in the diaspora and confinement,bringing to them the good news of a better future where they enjoy abetter life with freedom, dignity and independent country. I wantthem to work with me, seriously and sincerely, in order to doeverything we can, all the sacrifices to build our nation, Palestine.
So I also say something special for my children, thatthey our in our imagination and minds and conscience, and we willnever forget their rights, their efforts and their tortures. And inparticular, I call upon my brothers and sisters in the refugee campsin Lebanon that this long standing apart will not be long, and theywill come back to Palestine in their dignity.
For those who sacrificed for Palestine, the martyrs, thewounded, the widows, the orphans and the prisoners, without whom wewouldn't have achieved this day for freedom, for them for all, Itell them that we are going to achieve peace. To all our brothers,the Arabs, who embrace us in our difficulties and supported us duringwar and peace, I told them that we will continue our effort and willbe committed to our cause.
I am really honored with the presence of King Husseinwith us -- to stand with us, supporting our efforts for peace, eventhough he needs rest and medical care -- to go back safe to hiskingdom once again and to the Arab nation and Islamic nation.
Our daily contacts with President Mubarak and MinisterAmre Moussa was important in giving us the sincere advice and supportand expertise. And I say the same thing for all the Arab leaders whowere in constant contact with us, supporting us, guiding us, andwishing us success in our effort.
Mr. President; members of the U.S. government; myco-partner, Mr. Netanyahu; and the delegation and Israeli people; theU.S. administration has done every possible and creative effort forthe success of this work that took place on American land and in thehospitality of the U.S. administration. What President Clinton did,along with his colleagues, is rare to see or find anywhere. In spiteof his full schedule, President Clinton gave us his full attention,with members of his government and the officials and scores ofexperts and assistants, for the success of these negotiations andbringing us to this result that has been achieved.
President Clinton and for assistants, I would like tosay that you have a special place in our hearts and the peace processhas witnessed under your directions all the success and with ourpresence here with him the White House. We are certain that he willbe witnessing the signing of the final agreement here in the WhiteHouse. So he will have achieved the two important things in thepeace process -- Palestine and Ireland. And he will stay in theheart of every Palestinian person with every love.
In this regard, I would also like to thank the EuropeanUnion for the continued support of the peace process. And from here,I will go to Vienna, where the European presidency -- in order totell them and to thank them for their support of the peace process inthe coming days.
I would also like to thank the Russian President, and Ibelieve that my visit to President Yeltsin and Primakov and Blair, asa support to continue this peace process, and to support the samerole played by the Russians and the Europeans. I would like to thankthem all -- to thank China, in particular, and Japan and the Asianand African countries, and the non-aligned countries -- Islamiccountries -- and the Latin American countries, all of them. All ofthem support the peace and the rights of our people, and know thatthey will celebrate the achievement of peace in our region becausethis peace will establish security and stability and growth all overthe world.
And at last, I would like to direct my talk to Mr.Netanyahu and his colleagues, to say today we have achieved a greatpositive agreement. We have to continue that together very soon andto implement it quite sincerely in reality.
Your security is our security. Your security is oursecurity, and peace for your children and our children. And we willwork together through the peace process and negotiations, even thoughthey are difficult, in order to achieve a final solution. We willnot retreat, we will not go back to violence or confrontation. Andwe, together, will be the leaders in order that peace would prevailon our land and the land of our neighbors. And peace be with youall. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, many kind thingshave been said about the efforts of the American delegation and thehours that I spent at Wye Plantation, every one of which I treasured.(Laughter.) Some more than others. But in truth, all that wasrequired of us was a listening ear and a helpful suggestion now andthen, and a kind of determination to keep us all moving forward.
It is a little too easy, I think, sometimes for peoplewho are not directly, themselves, parties to a peace negotiation tobelieve they truly understand the judgments that the partiesthemselves must make, and how difficult they are, and what price theymight carry. I think, as hard as we tried not to fall prey to that,from time to time we did. I know we did, because there are people onboth sides smiling at me just now as I speak. So the lion's share ofthe credit belongs to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafatand their close aides.
But His Majesty King Hussein provided an element quitedifferent from what the United States brought to these negotiations,for he reminded us of what rises above the facts, the arguments, thelegitimate interests, even the painful sacrifices involved. He wasthe living embodiment of the best of our past and the brightest ofour hope for the future. And every time he was in the room, he madeus all become a little closer to the people we all would like to seeourselves as being. For that, we and the world are immeasurably inhis debt.
Your Majesty. (Applause.)
KING HUSSEIN: Mr. President; Mr. Vice President; Ms.Albright, Secretary of State; my friend, Sandy Berger; and, ofcourse, all our friends here and all our friends who played such avital part in the last few days in which I was privileged to be anobserver and one who sought to give courage to the process that wasongoing -- George Tenet. And as the President said, Dennis has losthis black hair and replaced it to grey; I've lost all mine and evenmy eyebrows. (Laughter.) But this is part of the life in which welive. And I was privileged to be with you all. And no matter what,I would have been. If I had an ounce of strength, I would have donemy utmost to be there, and to help in any way I can. (Applause.)
By the way, many in our part of the world and differentparts of the world have written me off. But I have a lot of faith inGod, and I believe that one lives one's destiny. And as far as I'mconcerned, my morale is the highest it has ever been. And this hasbeen a shot in the arm for me, what you have accomplished today,President Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Applause.)
I recall in discovering past events over many years, andone thing that remained with me throughout those many years was atotal commitment to the cause of peace. We quarrel, we agree; we arefriendly, we are not friendly. But we have no right to dictatethrough irresponsible action or narrow-mindedness the future of ourchildren and their children's children. There has been enoughdestruction. Enough death. Enough waste. And it's time that,together, we occupy a place beyond ourselves, our peoples, that isworthy of them under the sun, the descendants of the children ofAbraham.
Palestinians and Israelis coming together. I haveattended, sir, previous occasions here, and, of course, you, Mr.President, together with the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, weremy partners four years ago in the Washington Declaration, and lateron when the state of peace was finalized in our weekend in Jordan andin Aqaba. I don't think we might have given you as much hard work,or less sleep than you have been subjected to of late. But what Ifound this time, and what really gives me hope and confidence, isthat that same chemistry, after the first meeting between PrimeMinister Netanyahu and President Arafat, is there.
I think that we passed a crossroad. We have made ourcommitment to the welfare and happiness and security and future ofour peoples in all the times to come. And now our partners arenumerous, and we wish them every success in their endeavors and we'lldo everything we can to help them.
I think such a step as is concluded today willinevitably trigger those who want to destroy life, destroy hope,
create fear in the hearts and minds of people, trigger in them theirworst instincts. They will be skeptical on the surface, but if theycan, they will cause damage, wherever they are and wherever theybelong. Let's hope that the overwhelming majority of us -- those whoare committed to the future, those who know what responsibilitiesthey hold now -- will be able, through steady progress and adetermined combined joint effort, be able to thwart their aims andtheir objectives and move -- and maybe, God willing, witness the dawnthat we are always seeking of a comprehensive peace in our entireregion.
Mr. President, I have had the privilege of being afriend of the United States and Presidents since late PresidentEisenhower. Throughout all the years that have passed, I have keptin touch. But on the subject of peace, the peace weare seeking, I have never -- with all due respect and all theaffection that I held for your predecessors -- have known someonewith your dedication, clear-headedness, focus and determination tohelp resolve this issue in the best possible way. (Applause.)
Mr. President, permit me to say what I feel -- I wasmentioning it more than once in the last few days. You have thetolerance and the patience of Job, and you are the subject of ouradmiration and respect. And we hope that you will be with us as wesee greater successes and as we help our brethren and our friendsmove ahead towards a better tomorrow.
On behalf of Noor and for those colleagues of mine fromJordan, thank you all for your great kindness. And thank you, ourIsraeli friends and this very fine delegation, for all yourcontributions and efforts. And, obviously, my pride is limitless inthe efforts and in the commitment of President Arafat and hiscolleagues.
I think we are moving. We are not marking time, but weare moving in the right direction. I believe that very sincerely.And may God bless our efforts. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Let me say -- everyone sit down. Wehave to hurry because the hour is growing late and it's almostShabbat. I have to say one thing, very quickly. We have three menof peace here who have extraordinary military backgrounds. We havemany others here -- I want to mention two who came with PrimeMinister Netanyahu: General Sharon and General Mordechai; we're gladto have you here. (Applause.) And I say that because I want you tounderstand a piece of history.
This table was brought to this house in 1869 by one ofAmerica's greatest military leaders, Ulysses Grant, whorevolutionized infantry warfare in our Civil War. One hundred yearsago, this table was used to sign the peace treaty between the UnitedStates and Spain. And for 100 years this table, brought here by oneof our greatest warriors, has been the exclusive repository of ourpeace agreements -- the one we signed with Your Majesty King Husseinon this table; President Kennedy's test ban treaty, signed on thistable.
So I think it is fitting that these three great leaders-- two signers, one, His Majesty, observing -- who know a great dealabout war have come to make peace on this table, which, for ourcountry, has come to embody it. And we thank them.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(The agreement is signed.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.