JUNE 27, 1993
One year ago the State of Israel chose a new hope – chose to believe in the virtue of a different path – chose security and peace. We requested and received the confidence of the people for an approach new and different from that which was followed in the last 15 years. We presented our pledge to hundreds of thousands of voters and already for a year we have been busy working to honor it.
This is but the beginning. The way before us is still long. There will be successes, and also failures and difficulties. But our goal has been defined, and is clear to us: a different national order of priorities than that which existed until now security and peace.
For 45 years now we have been dreaming of peace. We desire peace, and we are ready to pay a price but not any price. In the last year, we have proven to ourselves, to the nations of the world, and to the Arab countries that we are ready and serious in our aspiration for peace. We have proven that we are not seeking idle discussions or foot-dragging that lead nowhere, certainly not to peace.
We have taken significant steps to reduce tensions, and to build trust. We have compromised. I may have been mistaken when I set forth a premature timetable for discussions and encouraged exaggerated expectations. However, if this has been interpreted in Damascus, Amman, Beirut, and in the Palestinian camp, as a race against the clock, or that we would be pushed to a solution only in order to acheive a success, there could be no greater mistake. In order to reduce the danger for our children, in order to provide security to the people of Israel, we have, and shall have, all the time in the world.
We believe that we have infused a new hope, a new wind in the sails of peace, we have introduced content into the process by including substantive topics. All of the initiatives in the negotiations, in all of the tracks, have been ours.
To the Palestinians we have proposed options for self-government including the transfer of many spheres of operation into their hands. To the Syrians we said that we were ready to apply the principle of withdrawal on the Golan Heights.
We have made these proposals out of careful consideration, inspection, and examination. We considered all the possibilities first and foremost, security. We have stated and have restated, that we will make concessions for peace, but we will not concede security.
To our regret, and this is the truth even if it is not pleasant, the Arab parties to the peace negotiations have yet to reciprocate. The Arabs are still held captive by their slogans, each party is still set against the other, there is no agreement amongst them and there has been no breakthrough between our two sides.
It is said, ‘There are no desperate situations there are only people who have despaired of the situation’. We have not despaired and we will continue on this path. There is no other.
The train that travels toward peace has stopped this year at many stations that daily refute the time-worn canard ‘the whole world is against us’. The United States has improved its relations with us, has returned to a normal course of closer relations and sincere and open dialogue. The administration of President Bush approved guarantees worth 10 billion dollars. The Clinton administration has opened its heart and arms to us and is continuing the American tradition of support for Israel. In Europe, our dialogue with the EC has been improved and deepened. We have been inundated by visiting heads of state and we have responded to them with friendship and with economic and other links. We are no longer ‘a People that dwelleth alone’.