Jerusalem, October 10, 1994
PM RABIN: (In progress) Unfortunately, your visit today is under the shadow of the terrible terror act carried out against innocent Israelis in the center of Jerusalem. Those enemies of Israel, the HAMAS and the other murderous organizations, will not hesitate to do anything to prevent us from living in peace, to hit wherever and whenever they find it possible, to kill Israelis because they are Israelis and to undermine the prospects of peace. We will fight these terrorist organizations. We will prevent them, to our best ability, from killing Israelis, and by no means will we allow them to achieve their goal to interfere in our move toward peace.
Mr. Secretary, allow me to thank the United States, to thank you, for the efforts that brought about in the last few months many positive results. I believe that we are continuing the process of the implementation of the Declaration of Principles with the Palestinians. I believe that we are moving, hopefully, towards peace this year with Jordan. You brought about a decision by the Gulf countries to ignore the secondary and tertiary boycott. There is no doubt in my mind that your visit this week to the Middle East will make other steps towards the achievement of our goal.
I know that the problem of negotiation with Syria remains unsolved yet. There are gaps between the positions, between Syria and Israel. What we want is peace and security and dignity, for Israel and Syria. We want a fair peace that brings about normalization and security to both our countries, and it has to be done in maintaining the dignity of our peoples and our countries together. Because otherwise, it will not be based on a real solid basis. I wish you, Mr. Secretary, a fruitful visit in the region.
SEC’Y CHRISTOPHER: I am very pleased to be back here in the region and have a chance to exchange views with the Prime Minister and to work with him to facilitate the peace process. As the Prime Minister has said, unfortunately our visit brings other items on the agenda. Only last night, the enemies of peace once again showed their cowardly face. These terrorists have no purpose but to kill, to kill innocent men, women and children, and most of all to kill the peace. Our being here brings home to us the terror in which the people of Israel have to live day after day, and I just want to tell you on behalf of President Clinton and myself, that we are determined that they shall not succeed shall not succeed in killing the peace. I want to express my own sense of grief at this atrocity and my condolences to all of the families of those who were killed and injured in this terrible attack.
The Prime Minister and I also reviewed this morning the situation on the Iraqi-Kuwait border. Here we expressed our resolve that Saddam Hussein would not be permitted to intimidate the people of Kuwait or the people of this region. Our resolve is clear that the Iraqis must comply with all the relevant Security Council resolutions. There will be no easing of the sanctions until that happens. I think this incident shows once again the need to maintain a very strong front against this kind of conduct. We’ll certainly not allow him to interfere with regional stability, to threaten regional stability again. I am glad to say there seems to be a strong convergence of the forces in this region in recognizing that this will simply not be permitted to happen.
As the Prime Minister has indicated, we’ve seen a number of steps in recent days that indicate that Israel’s relations with their Arab neighbors are vastly improved. The limitations on the enforcement of the boycott by the Gulf Cooperation countries is an important step. The relations between Israel and Tunisia and Morocco are also an indication of the changing character of the scene here, as is the very important conference in Casablanca this month, in which there is an opportunity for all the countries in the region to join with businessmen and leaders from around the world in any economic opportunities that flow from the peace process.
As the Prime Minister has said, much hard work remains, particularly on the track between Israel and Syria, and I will be devoting a good deal of my time to that effort. I am leaving for Syria early tomorrow morning. The interview given to Israeli television by Foreign Minister Shara, I think is an indication of the way that certain attitudes are changing. It’s a good first step, but it also indicates the gaps that exist, the distance that we have to travel. I want to renew the dedication that President Clinton, our administration and myself personally have in facilitating the efforts to reach a peaceful, comprehensive settlement at the earliest possible time.
I am very honored to have an opportunity to work with the Prime Minister in this historic effort to achieve peace for the region, and I feel, as the Prime Minister said, that we have great opportunities before us, and we will be working hard to achieve them.
Q: (on Iraq)
PM RABIN: Israel supports President Clinton’s policy of the dual containment of Iran and Iraq. As long as Iraq will not comply with the resolutions of the international community to which Iraq was committed at the end of the war, we see no reason to do anything to facilitate Iraq not to do what it is committed to do. We don’t see, at this stage, any problem to Israel. Israel is strong militarily and can cope with whatever eventualities.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you don’t have a meeting scheduled with Yasser Arafat this time. Will you be talking to him, and do you think that there is anything he could have done or could do to prevent attacks like last night?
SEC’Y CHRISTOPHER: I may well be seeing Chairman Arafat before I leave the region. I hope to do so. with respect to the incident last night, I think that Chairman Arafat should respond to that and condemn it strongly. The parties know that there will be incidents, but certainly I think it is up to him to give a strong condemnation of that incident, because it is an interference with his efforts to achieve peace in the region. I hope that he understands the need for him to react as strongly as he can against that kind of incident.