Last updated on: 5/19/2008 | Author: ProCon.org

Statements made at the signing of the 1994 Washington Declaration

Following are excerpts from remarks made on July 25, 1994 by US President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and King Hussein of Jordan after the signing of the Washington Declaration, as transcribed by the Federal News Service for Reuters and with translation of the Hebrew portion of Mr. Rabin’s remarks by the New York Times:

BY PRESIDENT CLINTON

“After generations of hostility, blood and tears, the leaders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the state of Israel will solemnly declare with the world as their witness that they have ended the state of belligerency between them. From this day forward, they pledge to settle their differences by peaceful means. Both countries will refrain from actions that may adversely affect the security of the other and will thwart all those who would use terrorism to threaten either side.

The Washington Declaration is the product of much hard work. Less than a year ago, Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and Foreign Minister Peres of Israel met here publicly for the first time. Together, with the wise counsel and persistent energy of the Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, Israel and Jordan — Israel and Jordan have pursued peace, and we are all in their debt.

It takes but a minute or two to cross the River Jordan, but for as long as most of us can remember, the distance has seemed immense. The awful power of ancient arguments and the raw wounds of recent wars have left generations of Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians unable to imagine, much less build, a life of peace and security. Today King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin give their people a new currency of hope and the chance to prosper in a region of peace.

Your Majesty, at our first meeting you wrote me a — after our first meeting you wrote me a heartfelt letter in which you referred to your revered grandfather, King Abdullah. You told me that his untimely assassination at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Al Aksa Mosque had come at a time when he was intent on making peace with Israel.

Had he completed his mission, you said to me, your region would have been spared four decades of war. Today, 43 years later, Abdullah’s grandson has fulfilled his legacy.

Prime Minister, when you first visited me in the White House, you spoke eloquently of your soldier’s life, defending and guiding your nation through four bloody decades of struggling to survive. You told me your people had had enough bloodshed, that this was time to make peace. Ten months ago you stood on this same lawn and shook the hand of Yasir Arafat, the leader of the Palestinian people. Today you stand together with King Hussein, descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, to declare that Jordan and Israel have ended their conflict. In holding out to your people the hope of a normal, secure life, you, sir, have fulfilled the mission of your life and of all those who have fought by your side for so long.”


BY KING HUSSEIN

“President Clinton, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, ladies and gentlemen, and so it is that on this day at this house of the great American people we have been able to take a historic step which we hope and pray will be to the benefit of our peoples within our entire region — Jordanians, Israelis and others. This is the moment of a commitment and of a vision. Not all of what is possible is within the document we have just ratified, but a modest, determined beginning to bring to our region and our peoples the security from fear, which I must admit has prevailed over all the years of our lives, the uncertainty of every day as to how it might end, the suspicion, the bitterness, the lack of human contact. We are on our way now truly towards what is normal in relations between our peoples and ourselves and what is worthy. We will meet as often as we are able to and as required with pleasure to shepherd this process on in the times ahead.

At this moment, I would like to share with you all the pride I have in my people, the people of Jordan, and their maturity and their courage and, in what I have been blessed with, their trust and confidence, and I believe the commitment of the overwhelming majority to the cause of peace.

The term used in international documents as they affected us so far is the state of belligerency and the end of the state of belligerency. I think both in Arabic and in Hebrew our people do not have such a term. But we have accomplished and what we are committed to is the end of the state of war between Jordan and Israel.

Thank you so very much indeed, Mr. President, for all your kindness.

Thank you, Prime Minister.

Thank you, all our dear friends. A warm thanks to the American people — our partners in the past, in the present, and in the future. God bless you and bless our march for the future and towards the future of peace in our region. Thank you.”


BY PRIME MINISTER RABIN

“Mr. President, Your Majesty, it is dusk at our homes in the Middle East. Soon darkness will prevail. But the citizens of Israel and Jordan will see a great light. We have today taken a major step on the road to peace. We and Jordan have chosen to speak to each other rather than to continue the state of war. From here, in the distance of thousands of miles from home, I would like to congratulate today the inhabitants of Israel and of Jordan to remember the fallen in the wars on both sides and to tell children on both sides of the border we hope and pray that your life will be different than ours.

I believe that we are a small country with a big heart. We are aware of world agonies and suffering of human beings anywhere. At this hour, when we are celebrating here in Washington, Israeli defense soldiers and medical units are trying to save the lives of thousands, if not more, of people on the verge of death in Rwanda.

But at the very same time, Israeli soldiers, a rescue team in Buenos Aires, on the invitation of — of their Argentinian government, are endeavoring to rescue the lives or bodies of those who were attacked, killed and disappeared, bodies of their own brothers as well as of the other human beings from buildings destroyed by vicious terrorists. This terrible crime was committed against Jews just because they were Jews. The Israeli rescue soldiers in Rwanda as well as those in Argentina, together with their comrades in arms defending us at home, are the same side of the same coin.

Mr. President, Your Majesty, there is much more in the Washington Declaration than parties were planning when they decided to prepare this declaration ten days ago. It bears witness to our ability in Israel and Jordan to accelerate our efforts towards peace, to overcome obstacles, to achieve a breakthrough, and to put an end to 46 years of hostility.

Mr. President, thank you. Thank you for all you have done for us and for what you will do. We embark on a road which must still be completed, and I am appealing to the United States, the leader of peace efforts in the Middle East, to assist those — those countries, those peoples who demonstrate courage and who take risks, risks for peace because it is a worthwhile goal. The political achievement presented today to the public here in Washington are part of a whole agenda that must still be clarified in serious deliberations ahead of us, from the difficult subjects of boundaries and water to trade and economic relations on which peace in our region will be based — and of course, security and diplomatic relations.

Our duty, starting today, is to turn the articles written on the paper into a living reality. This fine job could not have been completed without your leadership and determination in the Middle East peacemaking. You have already established your place in our history, an honorable place, and thank you. Our heartfelt gratitude our heartfelt gratitude goes also to Secretary of State Warren Christopher and his peace team who devotedly seek peace, and to generations of former U.S. Administration members who have for years searched for [a]bridge between Israel, Jordan and the other Arab peoples.

Your Excellency, the president of the United States, Your Majesty, the king of Jordan, let me say a few words in Hebrew to the citizens of Israel who are watching us now.

(In Hebrew) Dear Citizens of Israel, today we add another rung to the ladder rising to the fulfillment of the dream of peace. Full peace with Jordan is achievable. We will work to conclude it. Today we are all blessed with the Washington Declaration: Israelis, Jordanians, all those in the world who seek freedom and peace. Tomorrow morning we will all arise to a new page in our history, of which it can be said: “This is the day that God has made, let us rejoice in it.” Good evening to you back home in Israel. Tomorrow, we hope, everything can be different. Regards to you from the peace effort.

Thank you very much.”