25 June 2002

DM Ben-Eliezer comments on US President Bush’s speech
(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has welcomed US President George Bush’s speech and views it as a historic milestone, which outlines a security, political and economic horizon for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer believes that the key to implementing this horizon, in the words of US President Bush, lies in the carrying out of basic reforms by the Palestinian side, centering on the replacement of the Palestinian Authority leadership, the renunciation of terror and incitement, and the establishment of transparent democratic processes. Progress in this direction will move forward the political process, which is the only way to end the conflict.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer believes that realizing the dream of two states, living alongside each other in peace and security, is a supreme Israeli interest. If we find an honest, peace-seeking, terror-free interlocutor on the other side, who is amenable to historic compromise, the Defense Minister would support very significant compromises for peace.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer is convinced that Israel – along with the pragmatic Arab states and other international bodies – will do everything in its power to assist the American efforts, in the spirit of US President Bush’s speech.