White House East Room Washington D.C. January 28 12:09 P.M. EST
Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you.
Today, Israel takes a big step towards peace. (Applause.) Young people across the Middle East are ready for a more hopeful future, and governments throughout the region are realizing that terrorism and Islamic extremism are everyone's common enemy.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with both the Prime Minister of Israel and a man that's working very hard to become the Prime Minister of Israel in the longest-running election of all time - (laughter) - Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party. And both leaders joined me to express their support for this effort, proving that the State of Israel looking for peace, and that peace transcends politics by any measure unmeasurable. (Applause.) That's what they want.
On my first trip overseas as President, I visited the Holy Land of Israel. I was deeply moved and amazed by what this small country had achieved in the face of overwhelming odds and never-ending threats. The State of Israel comprises only a miniscule amount of land in the Middle East and yet it has become a thriving center of democracy, innovation, culture, and commerce.
Israel is a light unto the world. The hearts and history of our people are woven together. The Land of Israel is an ancient home, a sacred place of worship, and a solemn promise to the Jewish people that we will never again repeat history's darkest hour. (Applause.)
During my trip to Israel, I also met with Palestinian President Abbas in Bethlehem. I was saddened by the fate of the Palestinian people. They deserve a far better life. They deserve the chance to achieve their extraordinary potential. Palestinians have been trapped in a cycle of terrorism, poverty, and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism.
I returned from my visit determined to find a constructive path - and it's got to be a very powerful path forward in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To further this effort, I also met with President Abbas at the White House. Forging peace between Israelis and Palestinians may be the most difficult challenge of all. All prior administrations, from President Lyndon Johnson, have tried and bitterly failed. But I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems. (Applause.)
It's been a long and very arduous process to arrive at this moment. On Sunday, I delivered to Prime Minister Netanyahu my vision for peace, prosperity, and a brighter future for the Israelis and Palestinians. This vision for peace is fundamentally different from past proposals.
In the past, even the most well-intentioned plans were light on factual details and heavy on conceptual frameworks. By contrast, our plan is 80 pages and is the most detailed proposal ever put forward by far.
As I have seen throughout my long career as a dealmaker, complex problems require nuanced, fact-based remedies. That is why our proposal provides precise technical solutions to make Israelis, Palestinians, and the region safer and much more prosperous.
My vision presents a "win-win" opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel's security. Today, Israel is taking a giant step toward peace. Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that he is willing to endorse the vision as the basis for direct negotiations - and, I will say, the General also endorsed, and very strongly - with the Palestinians. A historic breakthrough.
And likewise, we have really a situation having to do with a race that is taking place right now. It will end, and we have the support - and it's very important to say this - of both parties and almost all people in Israel. They want peace, and they want peace badly. (Applause.)
This is the first time Israel has authorized the release of a conceptual map, illustrating the territorial compromises it's willing to make for the cause of peace. And they've gone a long way. This is an unprecedented and highly significant development.
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for having the courage to take this bold step forward. (Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:
Thank you. And, Bibi, we have a lot of powerful people in this room - a lot of the people that can help make it work. So that's quite a thunderous applause. Thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:
We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved. (Applause.)
We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian State for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism. (Applause.)
Under this vision, Jerusalem will remain Israel's undivided -- very important - undivided capital. (Applause.) But that's no big deal, because I've already done that for you, right? (Laughter.) We've already done that, but that's okay. It's going to remain that way.
And the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my vision provides to be part of the State of Israel. Very important. (Applause.)
And, crucially, the proposed transition to a two-state solution will present no incremental security risk to the State of Israel whatsoever. (Applause.)
We will not allow a return to the days of bloodshed, bus bombings, nightclub attacks, and relentless terror. It won't be allowed. Peace requires compromise, but we will never ask Israel to compromise its security. Can't do that. (Applause.)
As everyone knows, I have done a lot for Israel: moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem; recognizing - (applause) -- recognizing the Golan Heights - (applause) - and, frankly, perhaps most importantly, getting out of the terrible Iran nuclear deal. (Applause.) There's a lot of spirit in this room. (Laughter.) It's true. You don't see it often. You don't see it often.
Therefore, it is only reasonable that I have to do a lot for the Palestinians, or it just wouldn't be fair. Now, don't clap for that, okay? But it's true. It wouldn't be fair. I want this deal to be a great deal for the Palestinians. It has to be.
Today's agreement is a historic opportunity for the Palestinians to finally achieve an independent state of their very own. After 70 years of little progress, this could be the last opportunity they will ever have - and "last" for a lot of reasons. We'll never have a team like we have right now. We have a team of people that love the United States and they love Israel, and they're very smart and very, very committed: from your Ambassador David Friedman - (applause) -- to Jason and Avi and Jared. (Applause.) And they're all great dealmakers and they also understand the other side. And they want the other side to do well, because that's the sign of a great deal. And they understand that.
And I just appreciate all the hard work you've put in and so many of your other friends. And, of course, our great Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. (Applause.) Look at -- whoa. Oh, that's impressive. That was very impressive, Mike. (Laughter.)
That reporter couldn't have done too good a job on you yesterday, right? (Laughter.) I think you did a good job on her actually. (Laughter.) That's good. Thank you, Mike. Great.
Very -- are you running for Senate? I guess the answer is "no" after that, huh? (Laughter.) They all want him to. Kansas, great state. They want him to, but you're doing a great job. Don't move.
The Palestinian people have grown distrustful after years of unfulfilled promises - so true - yet I know they are ready to escape their tragic past and realize a great destiny. But we must break free of yesterday's failed approaches.
This map will more than double the Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem where America will proudly open an embassy. (Applause.) No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes. (Applause.)
Israel will work closely with a wonderful person, a wonderful man - the King of Jordan - to ensure that the status quo of the Temple Mount is preserved and strong measures are taken to ensure that all Muslims who wish to visit peacefully and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be able to do so. This is a major statement. This is of major import- - importance.
And, at the same time, our vision will deliver a massive commercial investment of $50 billion into the new Palestinian state. You have many, many countries that want to partake in this, and many of them are surrounding. They all want this to happen. Virtually every one of them want this to happen. And I think, Bibi, you know that very well. You're going to have tremendous support from your neighbors and beyond your neighbors.
Over the next 10 years, if executed well, 1 million great new Palestinian jobs will be created. Their poverty rate will be cut in half. And their poverty rate is unacceptable now and only getting worse. Their GDP will double and triple. And much-needed hope, joy, opportunity, and prosperity will finally arrive for the Palestinian people.
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