THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Monday, September 28, 1998
LEADERSHIP IN THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
To the voices of hatred and violence I say, and let us all say, you kill yourselves and others in the aim of killing peace, yet peace survives, and peace will grow stronger.
-- President Bill Clinton
Today, President Clinton welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to the White House for a meeting to discuss the peace process in the Middle East and additional steps both sides can take to ensure implementation of the accords agreed upon in Oslo, Norway in 1993. The President welcomes these two leaders a day after their meeting in New York with Secretary of State Albright, the first face-to-face meetings between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Arafat in more than a year. The President is determined to seize this moment and move the peace process forward.
A Presidential Commitment To Peace In The Middle East. President Clinton is committed to working with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to ensure that The Declaration of Principles, signed in 1993 and establishing the Palestinian Authority, and the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which established a framework for Palestinian self-rule, are implemented. The Clinton Administration has offered settlement proposals for Israeli troop withdrawals in the West Bank and actions that the Palestinian Authority must take to guarantee Israeli security so that a lasting peace becomes a reality. In addition, during the past three years, when terrorist attacks have threatened the peace process, President Clinton has taken action to keep talks on track:
- Signed An Executive Order providing the United States with a tool for combating fund raising in this country on behalf of organizations that use terror to undermine the peace process;
- Signed the Anti-Terrorism Bill, strengthening our ability to prevent terrorist attacks, identify those who carry them out, and bring them to justice;
- Provided $100 million in aid to fight terrorism with better training and explosive detection equipment;
- Supported the peace process through the diplomatic efforts of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross;
A Record Of Accomplishment In Middle East Peace Negotiations. Since hostilities first erupted with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the United States has been committed to achieving a lasting, region-wide peace in the Middle East. President Clinton has pursued this policy since his inauguration in 1993. The President:
- Brokered the 1993 Declaration of Principles and the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians;
- Helped clear the way for the signing of a formal peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in October 1994;
- Organized the creation of regional institutions designed to preserve the achievements of the peace process through long-term economic growth and prosperity;
- Negotiated a written agreement between Israel, Syria, and Lebanon to prevent terrorist attacks on Israel from Lebanese soil.
The Challenges That Remain. As President Clinton continues to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to implement their peace accords, the United States will continue to help those parties still in conflict negotiate durable peace agreements with and among each other, stand firm by those who have already undertaken such agreements, and demonstrate to the enemies of peace that violence and terror will not succeed in disrupting the peace process. The United States is committed to:
- Serving as the key broker in the peace talks between Syria and Israel;
- Encouraging further normalization of relations between Israel and all of the Arab states and an end to Arab boycotts of Israel;
- Securing additional aid for the Palestinian Authority and encourage regional economic integration.