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Statement by Prime Minister Rabin on the Resumption of the Peace Talks

(April 21, 1993)

The peace negotiations were effectively halted since December 1992, after the expulsion of the Hamas activists. Intensive discussions with the United States led to the decision of the various Arab delegations to return to Washington on 27 April 1993. Already on 1 February 1993 Israel made a decision concerning the returning of some deportees following consultations with the U.S. Israel promised that the December 1992 deportations were "unprecedented and exceptional" and that it has "no plans to resort to further deportations. " The following statement by the prime minister was seen as a conciliatory gesture to facilitate the return of the Arab delegations to the talks and was worked out in concert with the United States. Text:

Israel will participate in the peace negotiations to be renewed in Washington, on 27 April, immediately after our Independence Day. We have conveyed this message to the two co-sponsors, the United States and Russia.

We regret the delay in the negotiations on the part of the Arab parties. We hope that, following their decision to come now to the negotiating table, serious and realistic negotiations will be conducted in Washington. In order to achieve understandings, Israel on its part is determined to conduct negotiations and do everything to promote peace, while preserving its security and struggling against any violence aimed against its citizens.

Israel has seen an upsurge in violence directed against its citizens. Israel has an obligation, recognized by all, to do whatever is necessary to protect its people and country. One of these measures is deportations, which the Israeli Supreme Court has affirmed is legal. The Israeli Government believes that its action last December to temporarily remove Hamas activists from Israel dealt a major blow to that terrorist organization.

The decision announced by the Government of Israel on 1 February 1993, concerning the Hamas activists, was an act of good faith on Israel's part consistent with the principles of United Nations Security Council Resolution 799. In this way, compliance with the spirit of United Nations Security Council Resolution 799 will be achieved; however, this resolution was extremely unjust, as it refrained from any reference to the background of terrorism that triggered Israel's decision regarding the temporary removal. The 1 February decision provides for the return of all excluded persons in stages before the end of the year. The Government announced that 101 may return immediately. I believe that the review process taking place now may result in granting permission for an early return of some additional deportees.

We have previously stated that the deportations of December 1992 were unprecedented and exceptional and now, as negotiations resume, the Israeli Government has no plans to resort to further deportations; naturally, however, Israel -like all other nations - must retain its inherent power to take all necessary lawful steps to protect its people. We hope and expect that the Palestinians will make a good-faith effort to maintain calm and avoid violence against Israel.

The important thing now is to return to the negotiations and to get down to substance. Real progress toward peace is possible and desired. I am confident that, when the negotiations resume, additional measures by both sides can be undertaken to create a positive environment - free of violence and threats - for peace and reconciliation.

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs