Conference with PM Ehud Olmert and Vice President of the
Minister Ehud Olmert: Good evening. Welcome Mr. Vice President.
I am honored and delighted to have you visiting here after five
years, which was your last visit. It is particularly significant
this time because you are coming at the beginning of the 60th anniversary
for the State of Israel, and you are always a very good supporter
and friend to the State of Israel. We are very proud to have you
with us at this time.
I have to
add that we are going to discuss, naturally, many things tonight
and Monday. There are many items on the common agenda of America
and the State of Israel. We are both very concerned about Iran;
we are anxious to carry on the peace negotiations with the
Palestinians; we are watching very carefully the northern front,
the behavior of Syria and the Hizbullah; and naturally, I know
how concerned America is with the continued terrorist attacks
against Israel coming from Gaza against innocent civilians
in the south part of the State of Israel. All these matters
will be discussed while you are visiting here, and we will
always be happy to hear your advice and your observations about
these very important issues which are on top of the agenda
of the State of Israel and this part of the world.
you were always a supporter of Israel. I remember your visit
in Israel immediately after the first Gulf War in the early ‘90’s
when you were Secretary of Defense, and throughout this period,
in your different positions, you were always interested, concerned
and involved in matters which were very important to the State
of Israel. I am proud that we were friendly for many years,
meeting in different places in America and sharing the observations
and the judgments about the events in different parts of the
world, particularly in the Middle East, and now I am proud
that I can host you as the Prime Minister of Israel in the
State of Israel at this very important time to all of us.
Dick Cheney: Well, thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister.
I’m delighted to be back in Jerusalem once again with
my old friend, the Prime Minister, and I want to thank him
for the kind invitation that he extended to me and to my wife
Lynne to visit Israel again. I’ve been gone too long – it’s
now been five years since I was last here, and I’m glad
to be back. I also want to convey the good wishes to all Israelis
of the people of the United States and of our President, George
especially pleased to be here as we celebrate the 60th anniversary
of Israel’s emergence as a modern nation-state. The State
of Israel’s rise out of the ashes of World War II is
one of history’s great miracles. So too is the fact that
Israel has survived these six decades, despite often violent
assaults against its very existence. At the same time, the
nation has flourished, growing in population, prosperity and
military strength, while making remarkable contributions to
the worlds of science, culture and technology – the founding
of the new Jewish state, declared on the 14th of May, 1948
at 12 midnight; only 11 minutes later, by the direction of
President Harry S. Truman, the United States recognized Israel.
moment, our countries have been more than just strong allies.
We’ve been friends – special friends – and
our peoples bound together by unique ties of history, culture,
religion and memory. Today, both our nations share the ideals
of liberty, equality, human dignity and representative government.
Both our nations have stood firmly against the forces of terror
and intimidation. Both our nations have shown a great willingness
to work and sacrifice for the cause of peace. We are natural
commitment to Israel’s security is enduring and unshakable,
as is our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself
always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other threats
from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction. The United
States will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten
its security. As successful democracies, the U.S. and Israel
have a basic confidence in the power of freedom to lift up
whole societies and to lay the foundation for peace. We will
defend ourselves and protect our people, but as President Bush
said here in January, we will do more than defend ourselves;
we will seek lasting peace.
clearly shown that when encountered by Arab partners like Anwar
Sadat and the late King Hussein of Jordan, who accepted Israel’s
permanence, and are willing and capable of delivering on their
commitments, Israelis are prepared to make wrenching national
sacrifices on behalf of peace. I have no doubt this is equally
the case with Palestinians. On this journey, I am reiterating
the President’s commitment of two democratic states,
Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
He stated that vision early in his presidency, and – as
I like to remind people – he was the very first American
president to do so.
the necessary agreement will require tough decisions and painful
concessions by both sides, but America is committed to moving
the process forward, and to that end I will meet with President
Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. They too can be certain of
America’s goodwill in this process. It is not America’s
role to dictate the outcome, but we will help in the negotiations,
and provide all the support and encouragement we can. We care
deeply about these issues. We want to see a resolution to the
conflict; an end to the terrorism that has caused so much grief
to Israelis; and a new beginning for the Palestinian people.
Minister, I’m looking forward to our discussions. We
have a full agenda filled both with opportunities and with
dangers. As we continue to work for peace, we must not and
will not ignore the darkening shadows of the situations in
Gaza, in Lebanon, in Syria and in Iran, and the forces there
that are working to derail the hopes of the world. Together,
the United States and Israel will fulfill our responsibilities
to our peoples, overcome our challenges and continue to seek
a future of security, freedom, prosperity and peace. Thank
Thank you very much.