Remarks Before Working Dinner with Presidents Obama, Abbas, Mubarak and King Abdullah
(September 1, 2010)
Mr. President, Excellencies, Shalom aleichem. Shalom
al kulanu. Peace unto us all.
I'm very pleased to be here today to begin our common effort to achieve
a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
I want to thank you, President Obama, for your tireless efforts to
renew this quest for peace. I want to thank Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, Senator Mitchell, the many members of the Obama administration,
and Tony Blair, who've all worked so hard to bring Israelis and Palestinians
together here today.
I also want to thank President Mubarak and King Abdullah for their
dedicated and meaningful support to promote peace, security, and stability
throughout our region. I deeply appreciate your presence here today.
I began with a Hebrew word for peace, "shalom." Our goal
is shalom. Our goal is to forge a secure and durable peace between Israelis
and Palestinians. We don't seek a brief interlude between two wars.
We don't seek a temporary respite between outbursts of terror. We seek
a peace that will end the conflict between us once and for all. We seek
a peace that will last for generations - our generation, our children's
generation, and the next.
This is the peace my people fervently want. This is the peace all our
peoples fervently aspire to. This is the peace they deserve.
Now, a lasting peace is a peace between peoples - between Israelis
and Palestinians. We must learn to live together, to live next to one
another and with one another. But every peace begins with leaders.
President Abbas, you are my partner in peace. And it is up to us, with
the help of our friends, to conclude the agonizing conflict between
our peoples and to afford them a new beginning. The Jewish people are
not strangers in our ancestral homeland, the land of our forefathers.
But we recognize that another people shares this land with us. I came
here today to find an historic compromise that will enable both our
peoples to live in peace and security and in dignity.
I've been making the case for Israel all of my life. But I didn't come
here today to make an argument. I came here today to make peace. I didn't
come here today to play a blame game where even the winners lose. Everybody
loses if there's no peace. I came here to achieve a peace that will
bring a lasting benefit to us all.
I didn't come here to find excuses or to make them. I came here to
find solutions. I know the history of our conflict and the sacrifices
that have been made.
I know the grief that has afflicted so many families who have lost
their dearest loved ones. Only yesterday four Israelis, including a
pregnant women - a pregnant woman - and another woman, a mother of six
children, were brutally murdered by savage terrorists. And two hours
ago, there was another terror attack. And thank God no one died. I will
not let the terrorists block our path to peace, but as these events
underscore once again, that peace must be anchored in security.
I'm prepared to walk down the path of peace, because I know what peace
would mean for our children and for our grandchildren. I know it would
herald a new beginning that could unleash unprecedented opportunities
for Israelis, for Palestinians, and for the peoples - all the peoples
- of our region, and well beyond our region. I think it would affect
I see what a period of calm has created in the Palestinian cities of
Ramallah, of Jenin, throughout the West Bank, a great economic boom.
And real peace can turn this boom into a permanent era of progress and
If we work together, we can take advantage of the great benefits afforded
by our unique place under the sun. We're the crossroads of three continents,
at the crossroads of history, and the crossroads of the future. Our
geography, our history, our culture, our climate, the talents of our
people can be unleashed to create extraordinary opportunities in tourism,
in trade, in industry, in energy, in water, in so many areas. But peace
must also be defended against its enemies. We want the skyline of the
West Bank to be dominated by apartment towers - not missiles. We want
the roads of the West Bank to flow with commerce - not terrorists.
And this is not a theoretic request for our people. We left Lebanon,
and we got terror. We left Gaza, and we got terror once again. We want
to ensure that territory we'll concede will not be turned into a third
Iranian-sponsored terror enclave armed at the heart of Israel - and
may I add, also aimed at every one of us sitting on this stage.
This is why a defensible peace requires security arrangements that
can withstand the test of time and the many challenges that are sure
to confront us. And there will be many challenges, both great and small.
Let us not get bogged down by every difference between us. Let us direct
our courage, our thinking, and our decisions at those historic decisions
that lie ahead.
Now, there are many skeptics. One thing there's no shortage of, Mr.
President, are skeptics. This is something that you're so familiar with,
that all of us in a position of leadership are familiar with. There
are many skeptics. I suppose there are many reasons for skepticism.
But I have no doubt that peace is possible.
President Abbas, we cannot erase the past, but it is within our power
to change the future. Thousands of years ago, on these very hills where
Israelis and Palestinians live today, the Jewish prophet Isaiah and
the other prophets of my people envisaged a future of lasting peace
for all mankind. Let today be an auspicious step in our joint effort
to realize that ancient vision for a better future.
Sources: Prime Ministers Office