Remarks Before His Meeting With Israeli President Shimon Peres
Secretary of State
PRESIDENT PERES: Dear John, our dear Secretary of State, also let me tell you that our heart are with the American people, the dear people in Oklahoma.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT PERES: We share their pain, we admire their courage, and we shall pray for their full recovery. God bless them.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT PERES: Welcome here again. I know that your burden is very heavy and your responsibility is heartbreaking, but so is the hope. If you will succeed, it will be our success. If you will miss, we shall miss. We shall stand on your side all the way. You have a mission of peace which concerns all of us – Israelis, Palestinians, old and young, mothers and children. I wish you success. We shall work with you. Thank you.
Just one word --
SECRETARY KERRY: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT PERES: I also want to appreciate your effort to bring an end to the tragedy in Syria. We can’t stand it as human beings, and what you are doing is a human mission, not just a political necessity. Here too we shall be on your side in the best way we can, when necessary to say but when necessary also to be silent. Both are apparently needed, and we shall follow your advice to make your burden as easy and your success as promised. Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. President, Shimon, my friend of many years, I’m very grateful to you, first of all, on behalf of the American people for your expression of condolences for what happened in Oklahoma – obviously extraordinary and tragic. But you’re right, the people there are unbelievably courageous and they set a great example to everybody.
I’ve said before when I come here, and I’d say it again, that visiting with you is really very special. You are one of the world’s great statesmen, as I wrote in the book out there. I think you are a treasure for Israel and a great treasure for all of us who try to work for peace. I know the journey you have had and the many, many, many roles you have played in Israel’s history, and it’s a great privilege for me to visit with one of the founding father generation leaders of this country. So I’m really honored to be here with you.
No one knows better than you the complications and difficulties of trying to end years of conflict and trying to bring people with a long history of not trusting each other and of disappointments and of conflict, and trying to bridge that divide. I am convinced, with great humility, that this moment is a really critical one for the region and particularly for Israel, for Palestine, for Jordan. I think there is an opportunity. But for many reasons, it’s not on the tip of everybody’s tongue. People in Israel aren’t waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there’ll be peace, because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and a sense of prosperity.
But I think if you look over the horizon, as you do so much, one can see the challenges. And I think that the importance of trying to resolve this in this moment where there is a willingness for people to look for a way can’t be overstated. You said if you succeed or if you – it’s not me, Mr. President. It really is a question of whether Israel and the Palestinians make the choices. And the United States of America, through President Barack Obama, is completely at the disposal of both parties to try to help bridge the divide. We will work as hard as we can. You know how strongly we support Israel. You know how much we care about and admire the journey of the Israeli people. But our hope is that the leaders in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority will find the way to compromise and to achieve both of their goals. And I look forward to working with you in that enterprise. Thank you.