SELECTED QUOTES FROM U.S. VISIT BY PRIME MINISTER YITZHAK RABIN

NOVEMBER 12-16, 1993

Sources:

1. Joint Press Conference Clinton-Rabin – November 12, 1993 (PC).
2. ABC ‘Good Morning America’ – November 15, 1993 (ABC).
3. Macneil-Lehrer Newshour – November 15, 1993 (ML). 4. National Press Club Luncheon – November 16, 1993 (NPC).

Implementing the Declaration of Principles:

Today we are in the midst of negotiations to implement the Declaration of Principles signed here on the lawn of the White House on September 13. I told you, Mr. President, that these are complicated negotiations, and in the process of reaching an agreement there will be ups and downs, but I am quite sure that we and the Palestinians have passed the point of no return in our efforts to implement the agreement. (PC)

We would like to move, as we are committed to by the letter of invitation to the Madrid peace conference, with the Palestinians to a permanent solution of the conflict between them and us. The first phase, the interim self-government arrangement with the Palestinians we already let them run their own life, but on one issue, Israel will not give up on its security. Therefore we stress that the settlements will remain, at least for the period. This is without arguing what will be in the permanent solution. We didn’t want to repeat the painful, the dramatic experience of the price of peace with Egypt when we had to uproot settlements. All the settlements will remain. Israel will carry overall responsibility for the security of the Israelis in the settlements and in their movement in the territories. Israel will be responsible for the external security. (NPC)

Priority of Israel-Palestinian Agreement:

I believe at this stage to prove that the agreement that was reached can be implemented is more important than to sign another agreement… I see the greater importance today in the implementation of the agreement with the Palestinians. I believe that in the Middle East we don’t need archives of agreements that none of them has been implemented. Therefore, this is the first priority. (NPC)

What has been done with the Palestinians is unprecedented. Since the creation of the state of Israel, we have never succeeded to have an agreement with the Palestinians. It’s a complicated agreement, and therefore I see the first priority is to focus on its implementation.

We have to prove to the world, to ourselves, to the Arab world that once an agreement is reached it can be implemented. It doesn’t prevent at the same time to continue negotiations with the other three Arab partners, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. (ABC)

Israel’s Fight against Terrorism:

[The question today is] how to create a new reality, bearing in mind the backlog of suspicion, animosity, and even more so the fact that there are considerable elements among the Palestinians who in their opposition to the agreement are ready to carry out terrorist activities and I am not saying that on the Israeli side everybody supports it. We have our own opposition. Once they are provoked by assassination, they react in a way that we have to control them, but I cannot deny that this kind of reaction takes place. It makes reaching an agreement complicated. (ML)

There are forces among the Palestinians, especially the extreme Islamist groups the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the ten rejectionist Palestinian organizations that have headquarters in Syria who come out against the agreement, escalate their terror activities with one political purpose in mind: to undermine, to bring about the cancellation of the agreement, to put obstacles on the road to achieve it.

…Today the Hizbullah tried again to attack from Lebanon. We responded. Our air force did not hesitate to attack Hizbullah targets in the Bekaa near the Syrian border. I don’t see any contradiction between continuation of the peace negotiation with the Palestinians to implement the declaration of principles, and fighting the terrorism whose purpose is one: to undermine the peace process, to stop it. There is no contradiction. One complements the other: fighting those who fight against peace, and talking with the Palestinians who are committed to the peace, to the agreement that was reached, and want to implement it with us. (NPC)

Arafat’s Condemnation of Terrorism:

I knew with whom we are making an agreement. I’m not referring only to personality, but to an organization. I knew that they don’t control all the Palestinians no doubt those who come out openly against the agreement, and they carry out most, if almost all of the terror activities since September 13.

I know that he might not be in control of everyone of the Fatah, but we cannot tolerate the basic principle that once we sign an agreement, we took upon ourselves commitments that we will not carry them out. Credibility is the name of the game, the key for the future.

Therefore, I believe that he has, in addition to what he did, to make sure that it will not happen again, as far as it is related to people that come under his control, under his instructions. (NPC)

Negotiations with Syria:

We are ready to continue negotiations with Syria. We expect from the Syrians also to show that they are interested in peace, not only to get back the Golan Heights. The people of Israel would like to see that the leadership of Syria really means change of the whole set up of relations. We don’t expect President Assad to do what President Sadat did.

When President Sadat came in November ’77 to Israel, he convinced the people of Israel here is a leader who wants peace. Therefore, the terms for peace were far-reaching on the part of Israel. President Assad has not done 1 percent of what President Sadat did to convince the people of Israel that he wants peace.

We want to have peace with Syria. Peace with Egypt and peace with Syria change the strategic situation of Israel much more than with the Palestinians. With the Palestinians, is political, psychological. But with Syria and Egypt, first with Egypt, then with Syria, it’s a strategic change.

Q: And what has Syria’s reaction been to your call for secret talks? A: So far they answer no. (ML)

I don’t see any contradiction between focusing on negotiations for the implementation of the agreement with the Palestinians and negotiations with other Arab countries, including Syria. Believe me, I see great strategic importance to Israel, I believe also to Syria, in reaching peace treaty between our two countries, but at the same time, I cannot but ask myself why Syria doesn’t come out in support of the PLO, in support of the PLO decision to sign the agreement with us; why Syria allows the rejectionist Palestinian organizations freedom, assistance in coming up, attacking of Israel, Arafat, the PLO for signing the agreement; why they allow them to carry out terror activities and to increase terror activities, and saying clearly that the purpose of their terror is to destroy the agreement, to prevent its implementation; why they continue to assist Hizbullah to attack our forces, to continue their fighting against us.

Many people speak about CBMs, confidence-building measures. What will be more confidence-building measures on the part of the Syrians, not vis-a-vis us but vis-a-vis the Palestinians, vis-a-vis the PLO of Tunisia? Not to allow the kind of freedom, the use of radio stations that broadcast from Syria to the Palestinians in the territory against the agreement, against its implementation, allowing Ahmed Jibril to say on television that the fate of Arafat will be the fate of Sadat, that his own people will assassinate him. I don’t want to be the defender of Arafat, but I can’t understand how Syria can allow it and to pretend that Israel, not interested in peace negotiation with Syria.

We are ready. We’ll continue negotiations with the Syrians, but the Syrians have to prove that they support another Arab partner decision to reach an agreement with Israel, not to do the opposite. I believe that there will be, in accordance of certain timetable, there will be renewed negotiation with Syria. We are ready to do it now without preconditions. (NPC)

Negotiations with Jordan:

Q: When would you expect to sign this understanding that you’ve been working on with the Jordanians?

A: I don’t believe that I am in a position to set a date and what will be achieved. We signed on the 14th of September the agreed agenda between Jordan and Israel here in Washington. I believe it can be pursued. The less it will be leaked, the less it will be publicized, as unfortunately happened lately, there will be a possibility to move ahead. How far we will be able to reach a peace treaty in the coming two, three months, only the future will tell. (ML)

Jerusalem:

As part of the DOP for the period of the interim arrangements for self-government of the Palestinians, Jerusalem remains united under Israel’s sovereignty. The Palestinian authority council will have no jurisdiction over Jerusalem. I believe it’s the first time that by agreement with another partner we reached it even for the interim period.

Our position should not be put in any doubt. We see Jerusalem united under Israel’s sovereignty and our capital forever. (NPC)