Transcript of Clinton Remarks at Israel Policy Forum Gala
Source: U.S. Newswire.
January 7th, 2001
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 -- Following
is a transcript of remarks by President Clinton at
Israel Policy Forum gala Jan. 7.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) I want
to thank all of you for making me feel so welcome tonight, and also for making
Hillary and Chelsea feel welcome. I thank Michael Sonnenfeldt who, like
me, is going out after eight years -- (laughter) -- and will doubtless find
some other useful activity. But he has done a superb job, and I'm very grateful
to him. (Applause.)
I thank my friend, Jack Bendheim, for his many kindnesses to me and to Hillary. Yesterday,
he had a birthday and now, like me, he's 54. Unlike me, he has enough
children to be elected President of the United States. (Laughter.) And he's
had a wonderful family and a wonderful life, and I'm delighted that he's so
active in the Israel Policy Forum. (Applause.) I'd like to thank Judith Stern
Peck for making me feel so welcome and for her leadership.
I thank Lesley Stahl; it's good to see you, and thank you for your kind remarks. I
thank the many members of Congress who are here; and also the members of my
Middle East peace team, Secretary Albright and Sandy Berger and others have
been introduced. But Secretary Dan Glickman is here and Kerry Kennedy
Cuomo is here, and I thank them for being here. (Applause.)
I want to thank the New York officials who are here -- Carl McCall, Mark Green
and any others who may be in the crowd for your many kindnesses to me over
the last eight years. New York has been great to me and Al Gore and even
greater to my wife on Election Day, so I thank you for that. (Applause.)
We just reenacted her swearing-in at Madison Square Garden. And I was
reminded of one of the many advantages of living in New York -- Jessye Norman
sang, Toni Morrison read and Billy Joel sang. Meanwhile, at least at half time,
the Giants were ahead. (Laughter and applause.) And so I said, I felt
sort of like Garrison Keillor did about Lake Wobegone. I was glad to be in
New York where all the writers, artists and sports teams were above average
-- (laughter) -- and all the votes were always counted. (Applause.)
Let me also say a word of warm welcome and profound respect to the Speaker
of the Knesset, Speaker Burg, for his wonderful and kind comments to me. (Applause.)
And to Cabinet Secretary Herzog, for his message from the government of Israel. I
want to say a little more about that in a moment.
I want to congratulate Dwayne Andreas, my good friend -- I wish he were here
tonight -- and thank him for his many kindnesses to me. Congratulations, Louis
Perlmutter; Susan Stern who has been such a great friend to Hillary, and you
gave a good talk tonight, I think you've got a real future in this business. And
your mother sat by me and she gave you a good grade, too. (Laughter.)
And Alan Solomont, who has done as much for me as I suppose any American, and
he and Susan and their children have been great friends, and I thank you for
what you've done, sir. I thank all of you. (Applause.)
I'd also like to say how much I appreciated and was moved by the words of Prime
Minister Barak. He was dealt the hard hand by history. And he came
to office with absolute conviction that in the end, Israel could not be secure
unless a just and lasting peace could be reached with its neighbors, beginning
with the Palestinians. That if that turned out not to be possible, then
the next best thing was to be as strong as possible and as effective in the
use of that strength.
But his knowledge of war has fed a passion for peace. And his understanding
of the changing technology of war has made him more passionate, not because
he thinks the existence of Israel is less secure -- if anything, it's more
secure -- but because the sophisticated weapons available to terrorists today
mean even though they still lose, they can exact a higher price along the
I've been in enough political fights in my life to know that sometimes you
just have to do the right thing -- and it may work out and it may not. Most
people thought I had lost my mind when we passed the economic plan to get rid
of the deficit in 1993. And no one in the other party voted for it, and
they just talked about how it would bring the world to an end and America's
economy would be a disaster. I think the only Republican who thought
it would work was Alan Greenspan. (Laughter.) He was relieved of the
burden of having to say anything about it.
But no dilemma I have ever faced approximates in difficulty or comes close
to the choice that Prime Minister Barak had to make when he took office. He
realized that he couldn't know for sure what the final intentions of the Palestinian
leadership were without testing them. He further realized that even if
the intentions were there, there was a lot of competition among the Palestinians
and from outside forces, from people who are enemies of peace because they
don't give a rip how the ordinary Palestinians have to live and they're pursuing
a whole different agenda.
He knew nine things could go wrong and only one thing could go right. But
he promised himself that he would have to try. And as long as he knew
Israel in the end could defend itself and maintain its security, he would keep
taking risks. And that's what he's done, down to these days. There
may be those who disagree with him, but he has demonstrated as much bravery
in the office of Prime Minister as he ever did on the field of battle and no
one should ever question that. (Applause.)
Now, I imagine this has been a tough time for those of you who have been supporting
the IPF, out of conviction for a long time. All the dreams we had in
'93 that were revived when we had the peace with Jordan, revived again when
we had the Wye River accords -- that was, I think, the most interesting peace
talks I was ever involved in. My strategy was the same used to break
prisoners of war, I just didn't let anybody sleep for nine days and, finally,
out of exhaustion, we made a deal -- just so people could go home and go to
bed. (Laughter.) I've been looking for an opportunity to employ it again, ever
There have been a lot of positive things, and I think it's worth remembering
that there have been positive developments along the way. But this is heartbreaking,
what we've been through these last few months, for all of you who have believed
for eight years in the Oslo process; all of you who's hearts soared on September
19, 1993, when Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin signed that agreement.
For over three months we have lived through a tragic cycle of violence that
has cost hundreds of lives. It has shattered the confidence in the peace
process. It has raised questions in some people's minds about whether
Palestinians and Israelis could ever really live and work together, support
each other's peace and prosperity and security. It's been a heartbreaking
time for me, too. But we have done our best to work with the parties to restore
calm, to end the bloodshed and to get back to working on an agreement to address
the underlying causes that continuously erupt in conflicts.
Whatever happens in the next two weeks I've got to serve, I think it's appropriate
for me tonight, before a group of Americans and friends from the Middle East
who believe profoundly in the peace process and have put their time and heart
and money where their words are, to reflect on the lessons I believe we've
all learned over the last eight years, and how we can achieve the long sought
From my first day as President, we have worked to
advance interests in the Middle East that are long
standing and historically bipartisan. I was
glad to hear of Senator Hagel's recitation of President-elect
Bush's commitment to peace in the Middle East. Those
historic commitments include an ironclad commitment
to Israel's security and a just, comprehensive and
lasting agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Along the way since '93, through the positive agreements that have been reached
between those two sides, through the peace between Israel and Jordan, through
last summer's withdrawal from Lebanon in which Israel fulfilled its part of
implementing U.N. Security Counsel resolution 425 -- along this way we have
learned some important lessons, not only because of the benchmarks of progress,
because of the occasional eruption of terrorism, bombing, death and then these
months of conflict.
I think these lessons have to guide any effort, now or in the future, to reach
a comprehensive peace. Here's what I think they are. Most of you
probably believed in them, up to the last three months. I still do. First,
the Arab-Israeli conflict is not just a morality play between good and evil. It
is a conflict with a complex history, whose resolution requires balancing the
needs of both sides, including respect for their national identities and religious
Second, there is no place for violence, and no military solution to this conflict. The
only path to a just and durable resolution is through negotiation. Third,
there will be no lasting peace or regional stability without a strong and secure
Israel, secure enough to make peace, strong enough to deter the adversaries
which will still be there, even if a peace is made in complete good faith. And
clearly that is why the United States must maintain its commitment to preserving
Israel's qualitative edge in military superiority.
Fourth, talks must be accompanied by acts -- acts which show trust and partnership. For
goodwill at the negotiating table cannot survive forever ill intent on the
ground. And it is important that each side understands how the other
For example, on the one hand, the tolerance of violence and incitement of hatred
in classrooms and the media in the Palestinian communities, or on the other
hand, humiliating treatment on the streets or at checkpoints by Israelis are
real obstacles to even getting people to talk about building a genuine peace.
Fifth, in the resolution of remaining differences, whether they come today
or after several years of heartbreak and bloodshed, the fundamental, painful,
but necessary choices will almost certainly remain the same whenever the decision
is made. The parties will face the same history, the same geography,
the same neighbors, the same passions, the same hatreds. This is not a problem
time will take care of.
And I would just like to go off the script here, because a lot of you have
more personal contacts than I do with people that will be dealing with this
for a long time to come, whatever happens in the next two weeks.
Among the really profound and difficult problems of the world that I have dealt
with, I find that they tend to fall into two categories. And if I could
use sort of a medical analogy, some are like old wounds with scabs on them,
and some are like abscessed teeth.
What do I mean by that? Old wounds with scabs eventually will heal if
you just leave them alone. And if you fool with them too much, you might
open the scab and make them worse. Abscessed teeth, however, will only
get worse if you leave them alone, and if you wait and wait and wait, they'll
just infect the whole rest of your mouth.
Northern Ireland, I believe, is becoming more like the scab. There are very
difficult things. If you followed my trip over there, you know I was
trying to help them resolve some of their outstanding problems, and we didn't
get it all done. But what I really wanted to do was to remind people
of the benefits of peace and to keep everybody in a good frame of mind and
going on so that all the politicians know that if they really let the wheel
run off over there, the people will throw them out on their ears.
Now, why is that? Because the Irish Republic is now the fastest-growing
economy in Europe, and Northern Ireland is the fastest-growing economy within
the United Kingdom. So the people are benefitting from peace, and they
can live with the fact that they can't quite figure out what to do about the
police force and the reconciliation of the various interests and passions of
the Protestants and Catholics. And the other three or four things. Because
the underlying reality has changed their lives.
So even though I wish I could solve it all, eventually it will heal, if it
just keeps going in the same direction. The Middle East is not like that.
Why? Because there are all these independent actors -- that is, independent
of the Palestinian Authority and not under the direct control of any international
legal body -- who don't want this peace to work. So that even if we can get
an agreement, and the Palestinian Authority works as hard as they can, and
the Israelis works as hard as they can, we're all going to have to pitch in,
send in an international force like we did in the Sinai, and hang tough, because
there are enemies of peace out there, number one.
Number two, because the enemies of peace know they can drive the Israelis to
close the borders if they can blow up enough bombs. They do it periodically
to make sure that the Palestinians in the street cannot enjoy the benefits
of peace that have come to the people in Northern Ireland. So as long
as they can keep the people miserable, and they can keep the fundamental decisions
from being made, they still have a hope, the enemies of peace, of derailing
the whole thing. That's why it's more like an abscessed tooth.
The fundamental realities are not going to be changed by delays. And that's
why I said what I did about Ehud Barak. I know that -- I don't think
it's appropriate for the United States to deal with anybody else's politics,
but I know why -- you can't expect poll ratings to be very good when the voters
in the moment wonder if they're going to get peace or security, and think they
can no longer have both and may have to choose one. I understand that.
But I'm telling you, the reason he has continued to push ahead on this is that
he has figured out, this is one of those political problems that is like the
abscessed tooth. The realities are not going to change. We can
wait until all these handsome young people at this table are the same age as
the honorees tonight, and me, we can wait until they've got kids their age,
and we've got a whole lot more bodies and a lot more funerals, a lot more crying
and a lot more hatred, and I'll swear the decisions will still be the same
ones that will have to be made that have to be made today.
That's the fundamental deal here. And this is a speech I have given,
I might add, to all my Israeli friends who question what we have done, and
to the Palestinians. And in private, God forgive me, my language is sometimes
somewhat more graphic than it has been tonight. But anybody that ever
kneeled at the grave of a person who died in the Middle East knows that what
we've been through these last three months is not what Yitzhak Rabin died for
and not what I went to Gaza two years ago to speak to the Palestinian National
Council for either, for that matter.
So those are the lessons I think are still operative, and I'm a little concerned
that we could draw the wrong lessons from this tragic, still relatively brief,
chapter in the history of the Middle East. The violence does not demonstrate
that the quest for peace has gone too far or too fast. It demonstrates what
happens when you've got a problem that is profoundly difficult and you never
quite get to the end, so there is no settlement, no resolution, anxiety prevailed,
and at least some people never get any concrete benefits out of it.
And I believe that the last few months demonstrate the futility of force or
terrorism as an ultimate solution; that's what I believe. (Applause.) I think
the last few months show that unilateralism will exacerbate, not abate, mutual
hostility. I believe that the violence confirms the need to do more to
prepare both publics for the requirements of peace, not to condition people
for the so-called glory of further conflict.
Now, what are we going to do now? The first priority, obviously, has got to
be to drastically reduce the current cycle of violence. But beyond that,
on the Palestinian side, there must be an end to the culture of violence and
the culture of incitement that, since Oslo, has not gone unchecked. (Applause.)
Young children still are being educated to believe in confrontation with Israel,
and multiple militia-like groups carry and use weapons with impunity. Voices
of reason in that kind of environment will be drowned out too often by voices
Such conduct is inconsistent with the Palestinian leadership's commitment to
Oslo's nonviolent path to peace and its persistence sends the wrong message
to the Israeli people, and makes it much more difficult for them to support
their leaders in making the compromises necessary to get a lasting agreement.
For their part, the Israeli people also must understand
that they're creating a few problems, too; that the
settlement enterprise and building bypass roads in
the heart of what they already know will one day
be part of a Palestinian state is inconsistent with
the Oslo commitment that both sides negotiate a compromise.
And restoring confidence requires the Palestinians being able to lead a normal
existence, and not be subject to daily, often humiliating reminders that they
lack basic freedom and control over their lives.
These, too, make it harder for the Palestinians to believe the commitments
made to them will be kept. Can two peoples with this kind of present
trouble and troubling history still conclude a genuine and lasting peace? I
mean, if I gave you this as a soap opera, you would say they're going to divorce
court. But they can't, because they share such a small piece of land with such
a profound history of importance to more than a billion people around the world.
So I believe with all my heart not only that they can, but that they must.
At Camp David, I saw Israeli and Palestinian negotiators who knew how many
children each other had, who knew how many grandchildren each other had, who
knew how they met their spouses, who knew what their family tragedies were,
who trusted each other in their word. It was almost shocking to see what
could happen and how people still felt on the ground when I saw how their leaders
felt about each other and the respect and the confidence they had in each other
when they were talking.
The alternative to getting this peace done is being played out before our very
eyes. But amidst the agony, I will say again, there are signs of hope. And
let me try to put this into what I think is a realistic context.
Camp David was a transformative event, because the two sides faced the core
issue of their dispute in a forum that was official for the first time. And
they had to debate the tradeoffs required to resolve the issues. Just
as Oslo forced Israelis and Palestinians to come to terms with each other's
existence, the discussions of the past six months have forced them to come
to terms with each other's needs and the contours of a peace that ultimately
they will have to reach.
That's why Prime Minister Barak, I think, has demonstrated real courage and
vision in moving toward peace in difficult circumstances while trying to find
a way to continue to protect Israel's security and vital interests.
So that's a fancy way of saying we know what we have to do and we've got a
mess on our hands. So where do we go from here? Given the impasse and
the tragic deterioration on the ground, a couple of weeks ago both sides asked
me to present my ideas. So I put forward parameters that I wanted to be guide
toward a comprehensive agreement; parameters based on eight years of listening
carefully to both sides and hearing them describe with increasing clarity their
respective grievances and needs.
Both Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat have now accepted these parameters
as the basis for further efforts. Both have expressed some reservations. At
their request, I am using my remaining time in office to narrow the differences
between the parties to the greatest degree possible.
(Applause.) For which I deserve no applause. Believe
me, it beats packing up all my old books. (Laughter.)
The parameters I put forward contemplate a settlement in response to each side's
essential needs, if not to their utmost desires. A settlement based on sovereign
homelands, security, peace and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.
These parameters don't begin to answer every question, they just narrow the
questions that have to be answered.
Here they are. First, I think there can be no genuine resolution to the conflict
without a sovereign, viable, Palestinian state that accommodates Israeli's
security requirements and the demographic realities. That suggests Palestinian
sovereignty over Gaza, the vast majority of the West Bank, the incorporation
into Israel of settlement blocks, with the goal of maximizing the number of
settlers in Israel while minimizing the land annex for Palestine to be viable
must be a geographically contiguous state. (Applause.)
Now, the land annexed into Israel into settlement blocks should include as
few Palestinians as possible, consistent with the logic of two separate homelands. And
to make the agreement durable, I think there will have to be some territorial
swaps and other arrangements.
Second, a solution will have to be found for the Palestinian refugees who have
suffered a great deal -- particularly some of them. A solution that allows
them to return to a Palestinian state that will provide all Palestinians with
a place they can safely and proudly call home. All Palestinian refugees who
wish to live in this homeland should have the right to do so. All others who
want to find new homes, whether in their current locations or in third countries,
should be able to do so, consistent with those countries' sovereign decisions.
And that includes Israel.
All refugees should receive compensation from the international community for
their losses, and assistance in building new lives.
Now, you all know what the rub is. That was a lot of artful language for saying
that you cannot expect Israel to acknowledge an unlimited right of return to
present day Israel, and at the same time, to give up Gaza and the West Bank
and have the settlement blocks as compact as possible, because of where a lot
of these refugees came from. We cannot expect Israel to make a decision
that would threaten the very foundations of the state of Israel, and would
undermine the whole logic of peace. And it shouldn't be done. (Applause.)
But I have made it very clear that the refugees will be a high priority, and
that the United States will take a lead in raising the money necessary to relocate
them in the most appropriate manner. (Applause.) If the government of Israel
or a subsequent government of Israel ever -- will be in charge of their immigration
policy, just as we and the Canadians and the Europeans and others who would
offer Palestinians a home would be, they would be obviously free to do that,
and I think they've indicated that they would do that, to some extent. But
there cannot be an unlimited language in an agreement that would undermine
the very foundations of the Israeli state or the whole reason for creating
the Palestinian state. (Applause.) So that's what we're working on.
Third, there will be no peace, and no peace agreement, unless the Israeli people
have lasting security guarantees. (Applause.) These need not and should not
come at the expense of Palestinian sovereignty, or interfere with Palestinian
territorial integrity. So my parameters rely on an international presence in
Palestine to provide border security along the Jordan Valley and to monitor
implementation of the final agreement. They rely on a non-militarized
Palestine, a phased Israeli withdrawal, to address Israeli security needs in
the Jordan Valley, and other essential arrangements to ensure Israel's ability
to defend itself.
Fourth, I come to the issue of Jerusalem, perhaps the most emotional and sensitive
of all. It is a historic, cultural and political center for both Israelis
and Palestinians, a unique city sacred to all three monotheistic religions. And
I believe the parameters I have established flow from four fair and logical
First, Jerusalem should be an open and undivided city, with assured freedom
of access and worship for all. It should encompass the internationally recognized
capitals of two states, Israel and Palestine. Second, what is Arab should be
Palestinian, for why would Israel want to govern in perpetuity the lives of
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians? Third, what is Jewish should be
Israeli. That would give rise to a Jewish Jerusalem, larger and more vibrant
than any in history.
Fourth, what is holy to both requires a special care to meet the needs of all.
I was glad to hear what the Speaker said about that. No peace agreement will
last if not premised on mutual respect for the religious beliefs and holy shrines
of Jews, Muslims and Christians.
I have offered formulations on the Haram Ash-Shareef,
and the area holy to the Jewish people, an area which
for 2,000 years, as I said at Camp David, has been
the focus of Jewish yearning, that I believed fairly
addressed the concerns of both sides.
Fifth and, finally, any agreement will have to mark the decision to end the
conflict, for neither side can afford to make these painful compromises, only
to be subjected to further demands. They are both entitled to know that if
they take the last drop of blood out of each other's turnip, that's it. It
really will have to be the end of the struggle that has pitted Palestinians
and Israelis against one another for too long. And the end of the conflict
must manifest itself with concrete acts that demonstrate a new attitude and
a new approach by Palestinians and Israelis toward each other, and by other
states in the region toward Israel, and by the entire region toward Palestine,
to help it get off to a good start.
The parties' experience with interim accords has not always been happy -- too
many deadlines missed, too many commitments unfulfilled on both sides. So for
this to signify a real end of the conflict, there must be effective mechanisms
to provide guarantees of implementation. That's a lot of stuff, isn't it? It's
what I think is the outline of a fair agreement. (Applause.)
Let me say this, I am well aware that it will entail real pain and sacrifices
for both sides. I am well aware that I don't even have to run for reelection
in the United States on the basis of these ideas. I have worked for eight years
without laying such ideas down. I did it only when both sides asked me to,
and when it was obvious that we had come to the end of the road, and somebody
had to do something to break out of the impasse.
Now, I still think the benefits of the agreement, based on these parameters,
far outweigh the burdens. For the people of Israel, they are an end to conflict,
secure and defensible borders, the incorporation of most of the settlers into
Israel, and the Jewish capital of Jerusalaem, recognized by all, not just the
United States, by everybody in the world. It's a big deal, and it needs to
be done. (Applause.)
For the Palestinian people, it means the freedom to determine their own future
on their own land, a new life for the refugees, an independent and sovereign
state with al Quds as its capital, recognized by all. (Applause.) And for America,
it means that we could have new flags flying over new embassies in both these
Now that the sides have accepted the parameters with reservations, what's going
to happen? Well, each side will try to do a little better than I did.
(Laughter.) You know, that's just natural. But a peace viewed as imposed by
one party upon the other, that puts one side up and the other down, rather
than both ahead, contains the seeds of its own destruction.
Let me say those who believe that my ideas can be altered to one party's exclusive
benefit are mistaken. I think to press for more will produce less. There can
be no peace without compromise. Now, I don't ask Israelis or Palestinians to
agree with everything I said. If they can come up with a completely different
agreement, it would suit me just fine. But I doubt it.
I have said what I have out of a profound lifetime commitment to and love for
the state of Israel, out of a conviction that the Palestinian people have been
ignored or used as political footballs by others for long enough, and they
ought to have a chance to make their own life with dignity. (Applause.) And
out of a belief that in the homeland of the world's three great religions that
believe we are all the creatures of one God, we ought to be able to prove that
one person's win is not, by definition, another's loss; that one person's dignity
is not, by definition, another's humiliation; that one person's work of God
is not, by definition, another's heresy. There has to be a way for us to find
a truth we can share. (Applause.)
There has to be a way for us to reach those young Palestinian kids who, unlike
the young people in this audience, don't imagine a future in which they would
ever put on clothes like this and sit at a dinner like this.
There has to be a way for us to say to them, struggle and pain and destruction
and self-destruction are way overrated, and not the only option. There
has to be a way for us to reach those people in Israel who have paid such a
high price and believe, frankly, that people who embrace the ideas I just outlined
are nuts, because Israel is a little country and this agreement would make
it smaller; to understand that the world in which we live and the technology
of modern weaponry no longer make defense primarily a matter of geography and
of politics and the human feeling and the interdependence and the cooperation
and the shared values and the shared interests are more important and worth
the considered risk, especially if the United States remains committed to the
military capacity of the state of Israel. (Applause.)
So I say to the Palestinians: there will always be those who are sitting outside
in the peanut gallery of the Middle East, urging you to hold out for more,
or to plant one more bomb. But all the people who do that, they're not the
refugees languishing in those camps -- you are. They're not the ones with children
growing up in poverty whose income is lower today than it was the day we had
the signing on the White House Lawn in 1993 -- you are.
All the people that are saying to the Palestinian people: Stay on the path
of no, are people that have a vested interest in the failure of the peace process
that has nothing to do with how those kids in Gaza and the West Bank are going
to grow up and live and raise their own children. (Applause.)
To the citizens of Israel who have returned to an ancient homeland after 2,000
years, whose hopes and dreams almost vanished in the Holocaust, who have hardly
had one day of peace and quiet since the state of Israel was created, I understand,
I believe, something of the disillusionment, the anger, the frustration that
so many feel when, just at the moment peace seemed within reach, all this violence
broke out and raised the question of whether it is ever possible.
The fact is that the people of Israel dreamed of a homeland. The dream came
through; but when they came home, the land was not all vacant. Your land is
also their land, it is the homeland of two people. And, therefore, there is
no choice but to create two states and make the best of it. If it happens today,
it will be better than if it happens tomorrow, because fewer people will die.
And after it happens, the motives of those who continue the violence will be
clearer to all than they are today.
Today, Israel is closer than ever to ending a 100-year-long era of struggle.
It could be Israel's finest hour. And I hope and pray that the people
of Israel will not give up the hope of peace.
Now, I've got 13 days and I'll do what I can. We're working with Egypt
and the parties to try to end the violence. I'm sending Dennis Ross to
the region this week. I met with both sides this week. I hope we
can really do something. And I appreciate more than I can say the kind,
personal things that you said about me.
But here's what I want you to think about. New York has its own high-tech corridor
called "Silicon Alley." The number one foreign recipient of venture capital
from Silicon Alley is Israel. Palestinians who have come to the United States,
to Chile, to Canada, to Europe, have done fabulously well -- in business, in
the sciences, in academia.
If we could ever let a lot of this stuff go and realize that a lot of -- that
the enemies of peace in the Middle East are overlooking not only what the Jewish
people have done beyond Israel, but what has happened to the state of Israel
since its birth, and how fabulously well the people of Palestinian descent
have done everywhere else in the world except in their homeland, where they
are in the grip of forces that have not permitted them to reconcile with one
another and with the people of Israel -- listen, if you guys ever got together,
10 years from now we would all wonder what the heck happened for 30 years before.
And the center of energy and creativity and economic power and political influence
in the entire region would be with the Israelis and the Palestinians because
of their gifts. It could happen. But somebody has got to take the long leap,
and they have to be somebodies on both sides.
All I can tell you is, whether you do it now or
whether you do it later, whether I'm the President
or just somebody in the peanut gallery, I'll be there,
cheering and praying and working along the way. (Applause.)
And I think America will be there. I think
America will always be there for Israel's security. But
Israel's lasting security rests in a just and lasting
peace. I pray that the day will come sooner,
rather than later, where all the people of the region
will see that they can share the wisdom of God in
their common humanity and give up their conflict.
Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)