after the Aqaba Summit meeting
Aqaba, Jordan – June 4, 2003
I would like to thank His Majesty King Abdullah for arranging this meeting, and express Israel’s appreciation to President Bush for coming here to be with Prime Minister Abbas and me. Thank you.
As the Prime Minister of Israel, the land which is the cradle of the Jewish people, my paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel and of the State of Israel. There can be no compromise with terror and Israel, together with all free nations, will continue fighting terrorism until its final defeat.
Ultimately, permanent security requires peace and permanent peace can only be obtained through security, and there is now hope of a new opportunity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel, like others, has lent its strong support for President Bush’s vision, expressed on June 24, 2002, of two states – Israel and a Palestinian state – living side by side in peace and security. The Government and people of Israel welcome the opportunity to renew direct negotiations according to the steps of the roadmap as adopted by the Israeli government to achieve this vision.
It is in Israel’s interest not to govern the Palestinians but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state.
There can be no peace, however, without the abandonment and elimination of terrorism, violence, and incitement. We will work alongside the Palestinians and other states to fight terrorism, violence and incitement of all kinds. As all parties perform their obligations, we will seek to restore normal Palestinian life, improve the humanitarian situation, rebuild trust, and promote progress toward the President’s vision. We will act in a manner that respects the dignity as well as the human rights of all people.
We can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of territorial contiguity in the West Bank, for a viable, Palestinian state. Israeli policy in the territories that are subject to direct negotiations with the Palestinians will reflect this fact.
We accept the principle that no unilateral actions by any party can prejudge the outcome of our negotiations.
In regard to the unauthorized outposts, I want to reiterate that Israel is a society governed by the rule of law. Thus, we will immediately begin to remove unauthorized outposts.
Israel seeks peace with all its Arab neighbors. Israel is prepared to negotiate in good faith wherever there are partners. As normal relations are established, I am confident that they will find in Israel a neighbor and a people committed to comprehensive peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the region.
Thank you all.