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U.S. Department of State
96/04/24 Remarks: Israel Independence Day
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
As Prepared for Delivery April 24, 1996
REMARKS ON BEHALF OF
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE STROBE TALBOTT
AT ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY RECEPTION
Embassy of Israel
I regret that I am unable to join you for this celebration of the 48th
anniversary of Israel's independence.
As you know, at the President's direction, I am engaged in an intensive
effort to end the fighting in Lebanon. My goal is to achieve an
enduring set of understandings that will return calm and peace to
civilians on both sides of the Israeli-Lebanese border. Once the crisis
is resolved, we are determined to move quickly toward a comprehensive
settlement -- the only real means to provide the people of Israel with
the peace and security they deserve.
Since Israel's last Independence Day, it has faced challenges as great
as any in its history. A year ago, none of us could have imagined that
Prime Minister Rabin would not be with us today.
Americans have experienced the agony of assassination. We appreciate
what a traumatic loss his murder was, and still is. And we have nothing
but admiration for the fortitude with which Prime Minister Peres and so
many others have sustained the march towards peace with security and a
new Middle East.
The peace process is supported by many people of good will, Arab as well
as Israeli, throughout the region. And their ranks will steadily grow
as the fruits of peace become evident.
But peace is not an easy thing to pursue. The more momentum the process
gains and the closer we come to our goal, the more embittered and
desperate the enemies of peace have become. That is why the suicide
bombers of Hamas have brought carnage to Israel's cities. That is why
Israel has been forced to fight the cynical guerrillas of Hezbollah, who
have no compunctions about hiding behind civilians to launch their
cowardly attacks, with tragic results for the people of Israel and
Once again, a celebration of Israel's independence is taking place
against a backdrop of threats against the security of Israel. That is
why we have no choice but to press forward for peace with security.
I reaffirm to you the unshakable support of the United States for the
people of Israel in your pursuit of peace.
I am also here to reaffirm my confidence and faith in the people of
The courage and strength you have demonstrated through 48 years of
struggle, sacrifice and success, and your unique commitment to
democratic values, will see you through again. Of that I am certain.
For four decades the United States has stood by Israel's side. We will
remain by your side as a partner, and above all as a friend. That was
the message President Clinton carried to Israel last month, and the
message he asked me to convey today.
The roots of our commitment to your security and prosperity run deep.
Like you, we are a diverse nation comprised of people from every part of
the world. Like you, our nation cherishes freedom, and like you, we are
deeply committed to take risks for peace.
It is my sincere hope that when we mark this occasion next year, the
real peace and security that Israel so richly deserves will at last be
within its grasp. President Clinton and I will continue to do
everything in our power to help make it so.
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