At the Ceremony hosted by President Obama at the White House to Launch Direct Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations
Washington, DC, US
1 September 2010
In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,
Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you,
The task at hand is not an easy one. For decades, a Palestinian-Israeli settlement has eluded us. Millions of men, women, and children have suffered. Too many people have lost faith in our ability to bring them the peace they want. Radicals and terrorists have exploited frustrations to feed hatred and ignite wars. The whole world has been dragged into regional conflicts that cannot be addressed effectively until the Arabs and Israelis find peace. This past record drives the importance of our efforts today.
There are those, on both sides, who want us to fail; who will do everything in their power to disrupt our efforts today. Because, when the Palestinians and Israelis find peace, when young men and women can look to a future of promise and opportunity, radicals and extremists lose their most potent appeal. This is why we must prevail. For our failure would be their success in sinking the region into more instability and wars that will cause further suffering in the region and beyond.
We value your commitment to the cause of peace in our region. We count on your continued engagement to help the parties move forward. You have said that Middle East peace is in the national security interest of your country. We believe it is. It is also a strategic European interest, and it is a necessary requirement for global security and stability.
Peace is also a right for every citizen in our region. A Palestinian-Israeli settlement, on the basis of two states living side by side, is a precondition for security and stability of all countries of the Middle East, with a regional peace, that will lead to normal relations between Israel and 57 Arab and Muslim states that have endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative. That would also be an essential step toward neutralising forces of evil and war that threaten all peoples. Mr. President, we need your support, as a mediator, an honest broker, and a partner as the parties move along the hard, but inevitable, path of settlement.
All eyes are upon us. The direct negotiations that will start tomorrow must show results, and sooner rather than later. Time is not on our side. That is why we must spare no effort in addressing all final-status issues with a view to reaching the two-state solution – the only solution that guarantees the interests of all and the only solution that can create a future worthy of our great region: A future of peace, in which fathers and mothers can raise their children without fear, young people can look forward to lives of achievement and hope, and 300 million people can cooperate for mutual benefit.
For too long, too many people of the region have been denied their most basic of human rights. The right to live in peace and security, respected in their human dignity, enjoying freedom and opportunity. If hopes are disappointed again, the price of failure will be too high for all. Our peoples want us to rise to their expectations. And we can do so if we approach these negotiations with good will, sincerity and courage.