Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East
The Rose Garden
The White House
March 14, 2003
10:00 A.M. EST
Good morning. We have reached a hopeful moment for progress toward the vision
of Middle Eastern peace that I outlined last June. I spoke of a day when two
states, Israel and Palestine, will live side by side in peace and security.
I called upon all parties in the Middle East to abandon old hatreds and to meet
their responsibilities for peace.
The Palestinian state must be a reformed and peaceful and democratic state that
abandons forever the use of terror. The government of Israel, as the terror
threat is removed and security improves, must take concrete steps to support
the emergence of a viable and credible Palestinian state, and to work as quickly
as possible toward a final status agreement. As progress is made toward peace,
settlement activity in the occupied territories must end. And the Arab states
must oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine,
and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel.
This moment offers a new opportunity to meet these objectives. After its recent
elections, the nation of Israel has a new government. And the Palestinian Authority
has created the new position of Prime Minister. Israeli and Palestinian leaders
and other governments in the region now have a chance to move forward with determination
and with good faith.
To be a credible and responsible partner, the new Palestinian Prime Minister
must hold a position of real authority. We expect that such a Palestinian Prime
Minister will be confirmed soon. Immediately upon confirmation, the road map
for peace will be given to the Palestinians and the Israelis. This road map
will set forth a sequence of steps toward the goals I set out on June 24th,
2002, goals shared by all the parties.
The United States has developed this plan over the last several months in close
cooperation with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. Once this
road map is delivered, we will expect and welcome contributions from Israel
and the Palestinians to this document that will advance true peace. We will
urge them to discuss the road map with one another. The time has come to move
beyond entrenched positions and to take concrete actions to achieve peace.
America is committed, and I am personally committed, to implementing our road
map toward peace. Our efforts are guided by clear principles: We believe that
all people in the Middle East -- Arab and Israeli alike -- deserve to live in
dignity, under free and honest governments. We believe that people who live
in freedom are more likely to reject bitterness, blind hatred and terror; and
are far more likely to turn their energy toward reconciliation, reform and development.
There can be no peace for either side in the Middle East unless there is freedom
for both. Reaching that destination will not be easy, but we can see the way
forward. Now the parties must take that way, step by step, and America will
be the active partner of every party that seeks true peace.