(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Shimon Peres was the guest of honor at a reception held by the Jordanian Embassy in Israel marking 63 years of independence of the Hashemite Kingdom.

Speaking to the guests, the President said that "Jordan is Israel’s ally, and I hope that the people of Jordan know that Israel appreciates Jordan’s independence, its culture and heritage." The President added that "Israel considers itself lucky to have Jordan as a neighbor, sharing the quietest border." He stressed that "the time has come to open a new chapter of peace in the Middle East."

President Peres noted the courage of the Hashemite monarchs: King Abdullah I, who paid with his life for his attempt to achieve peace; King Hussein, who won the hearts of the Israeli people when he signed the peace treaty, and once again when he came to Israel to ask for the forgiveness of the families of the young girls killed in the attack at Naharayim. The President commended King Abdullah II for his efforts to promote the initiative for regional peace.

Jordanian Ambassador to Israel, Ali Al-Ayed, thanked the President warmly and said, "The peace treaty between our countries was achieved thanks to the courage of King Hussein, Prime Minister Rabin, and yourself. Since the signing of the peace treaty, there has been good cooperation between the two states in various fields, and we look forward to working with the new government of Israel to achieve peace in the region. Peace in the Middle East is a necessity, not a luxury, and it is the responsibility of us all to ensure that our children will not inherit the conflict."