Peace in Middle East is Achievable
Remarks to the Travel Pool
Outside Cape Arundel Church
June 15, 2003
9:50 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.
QUESTION: How are you?
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
QUESTION: Do you want to visit a bit?
THE PRESIDENT: Sure.
QUESTION: What's your assessment of things in the Middle East?
THE PRESIDENT: My assessment is, is that there are people that want peace
to go forward, and there are people that don't. And for those of us who want
peace to go forward, we must combine our efforts to prevent people like Hamas
from sabotaging peace.
I'm confident we can achieve peace. It's going to be a tough road, but I
am determined to continue to lend the weight of this government to advance
QUESTION: Sir, why haven't you called Prime Minister Sharon and Abbas?
THE PRESIDENT: We're in touch with the governments. We're in contact with
the Israeli government, as well as the Palestinian Authority. The message
is clear: Prime Minister Abbas wants peace; Prime Minister Sharon wants peace;
America wants peace; the European Union wants peace. But there are clearly
killers who don't. And for those of us who are interested in moving the process
forward, we must combine our efforts to cut off all money, support for anybody
who tries to sabotage the peace process.
QUESTION: Will you send Dr. Rice to the region?
THE PRESIDENT: I'll let you know if we decide to. Of course, we just got
out -- Ambassador Welsh* is there now and he's working the process.
QUESTION: Are you willing to give money or arms to the Palestinian Authority to
help them out with Hamas --
THE PRESIDENT: We would like for the Palestinian Authority to set up a security
force under Mr. Dahlan that will do the job that Prime Minister Abbas assured
me that they're interested in doing, which is to defeat those terrorists
who will do everything they can to deny the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian
state. And a peaceful Palestinian state is in the interests of the Palestinian
QUESTION: -- have enough arms, enough money?
THE PRESIDENT: We are in the process of helping them implement a strategy
which is was described to us in Aqaba as to how the Palestinian Authority
want to reconstitute a security force in order to make sure the terrorists,
the haters of peace,t those who can't stand freedom do not have their way
in the Middle East.
I believe peace is possible, and I believe we've got a lot of work to do
to get there.
QUESTION: Do see a break in the violence right not, in the last several days?
THE PRESIDENT: It seems like it, but, you know -- but until these people
are brought to justice, those who are killing people in order to deny the
establishment of a Palestinian state, there will be violence. And so the
mission of the free world, those who care for peace, is to deny the people
like Hamas the ability to destroy and to kill. And I believe that the agents
of peace, the people who love, those who care about a decent future for the
suffering Palestinian people and those who live in Israel will prevail. But
it's going to take a lot of work.
Listen, have a wonderful Father's Day.
QUESTION: -- think of the unrest in Iran?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that freedom is a powerful incentive. And I am --
I believe that some day freedom will prevail everywhere, because freedom
is a powerful drive for people to -- and it's the beginnings of people expressing
themselves toward a free Iran, which I think is positive.
QUESTION: Sir, have the Israelis been justified in going after Hamas --
THE PRESIDENT: Wait for us to succeed peace. Wait for us to have two states,
side by side -- is for everybody coming together to deny the killers the
opportunity to destroy. And that's what they want to do. There are people
in the Middle East who hate the thought of a peaceful Palestinian state.
That's what they can't stand. And the objective of this government, and my
objective as the President, is to move the process forward so a state is
established; it will be a peaceful state, a free state, a prosperous state,
so people have hope. And in the meantime, before that state is established,
it is clear that the free world, those who love freedom and peace, must deal
harshly with Hamas and the killers. And that's just the way it is in the
But we've laid out the way forward, and I intend to keep the process moving.
And I believe we can have a peaceful Palestinian state living side by side
with the Israelis.
Have a great Father's Day. We'll be out there catching fish.