Discorso inaugurale di George W. Bush alla Conferenza di Pace di Annapolis

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Discorso inaugurale di George W. Bush alla Conferenza di Pace di Annapolis

28 Novembre 2007

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for coming. Prime Minister
Olmert, President Abbas, Secretary General Ban, former Prime Minister Blair,
distinguished guests: Welcome to one of the finest institutes we have in
America, the United States Naval Academy. We appreciate you joining us in what
I believe is an historic opportunity to encourage the expansion of freedom and
peace in the Holy Land.

We meet to lay the foundation for the establishment of a new nation — a
democratic Palestinian state that will live side by side with Israel in peace
and security. We meet to help bring an end to the violence that has been the
true enemy of the aspirations of both the Israelis and Palestinians.


We’re off to a strong start. I’m about to read a
statement that was agreed upon by our distinguished guests:

The representatives of the government of the state of
Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, represented respective by
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and President Mahmoud Abbas in his capacity as
Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian
Authority, have convened in Annapolis, Maryland, under the auspices of
President George W. Bush of the United States of America, and with the support
of the participants of this international conference, having concluded the
following joint understanding.

We express our determination to bring an end to
bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a
new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and
mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to
confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or
Israelis. In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine living
side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith
bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty, resolving all
outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, as specified
in previous agreements.

We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous
negotiations, and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the
end of 2008. For this purpose, a steering committee, led jointly by the head of
the delegation of each party, will meet continuously, as agreed. The steering
committee will develop a joint work plan and establish and oversee the work of
negotiations teams to address all issues, to be headed by one lead
representative from each party. The first session of the steering committee
will be held on 12 December 2007.

President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert will
continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis to follow up the negotiations in order to
offer all necessary assistance for their advancement.

The parties also commit to immediately implement their
respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent
two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, issued by the Quartet on
30 April 2003 — this is called the road map — and agree to form an American,
Palestinian and Israeli mechanism, led by the United States, to follow up on
the implementation of the road map.

The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing
obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States
will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the
road map. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future
peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged
by the United States.

Congratulations for your strong leadership. (Applause.)

The Palestinian people are blessed with many gifts and
talents. They want the opportunity to use those gifts to better their own lives
and build a better future for their children. They want the dignity that comes
with sovereignty and independence. They want justice and equality under the
rule of law. They want freedom from violence and fear.

The people of Israel have just aspirations, as well.
They want their children to be able to ride a bus or to go to school without
fear of suicide bombers. They want an end to rocket attacks and constant
threats of assault. They want their nation to be recognized and welcomed in the
region where they live.

Today, Palestinians and Israelis each understand that
helping the other to realize their aspirations is key to realizing their own
aspirations — and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian
state. Such a state will provide Palestinians with the chance to lead lives of
freedom and purpose and dignity. Such a state will help provide the Israelis
with something they have been seeking for generations: to live in peace with
their neighbors.

Achieving this goal is not going to be easy — if it
were easy, it would have happened a long time ago. To achieve freedom and
peace, both Israelis and Palestinians will have to make tough choices. Both
sides are sober about the work ahead, but having spent time with their leaders,
they are ready to take on the tough issues. As Prime Minister Olmert recently
put it, “We will avoid none of [the historic questions], we will not run
from discussing any of them.” As President Abbas has said: “I believe
that there is an opportunity not only for us but for the Israelis, too. We have
a historic and important opportunity that we must benefit from.” It is
with that spirit that we concluded — that they concluded this statement I just

Our purpose here in Annapolis is not to conclude an agreement. Rather,
it is to launch negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. For the
rest of us, our job is to encourage the parties in this effort — and to give
them the support they need to succeed.

In light of recent developments, some have suggested
that now is not the right time to pursue peace. I disagree. I believe now is
precisely the right time to begin these negotiations — for a number of

First, the time is right because Palestinians and
Israelis have leaders who are determined to achieve peace. President Abbas
seeks to fulfill his people’s aspirations for statehood, dignity and security.
President Abbas understands that a Palestinian state will not be born of
terror, and that terrorism is the enemy standing in the way of a state. He and
Prime Minister Fayyad have both declared, without hesitation, that they are
opposed to terrorism and committed to peace. They’re committed to turning these
declarations into actions on the ground to combat terror.

The emergence of responsible Palestinian leaders has
given Israeli leaders the confidence they need to reach out to the Palestinians
in true partnership. Prime Minister Olmert has expressed his understanding of
the suffering and indignities felt by the Palestinian people. He’s made clear
that the security of Israel will be enhanced by the establishment of a
responsible, democratic Palestinian state. With leaders of courage and
conviction on both sides, now is the time to come together and seek the peace
that both sides desire.

Second, the time is right because a battle is underway
for the future of the Middle East — and we must not cede victory to the
extremists. With their violent actions and contempt for human life, the
extremists are seeking to impose a dark vision on the Palestinian people — a
vision that feeds on hopelessness and despair to sow chaos in the Holy Land. If
this vision prevails, the future of the region will be endless terror, endless
war, and endless suffering.

Standing against this dark vision are President Abbas
and his government. They are offering the Palestinian people an alternative
vision for the future — a vision of peace, a homeland of their own, and a
better life. If responsible Palestinian leaders can deliver on this vision,
they will deal the forces of extremism a devastating blow. And when liberty
takes root in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire
millions across the Middle East who want their societies built on freedom and
peace and hope.

By contrast, if Palestinian reformers cannot deliver on this hopeful
vision, then the forces of extremism and terror will be strengthened, a
generation of Palestinians could be lost to the extremists, and the Middle East
will grow in despair. We cannot allow this to happen. Now is the time to show
Palestinians that their dream of a free and independent state can be achieved
at the table of peace — and that the terror and violence preached by
Palestinian extremists is the greatest obstacle to a Palestinian state.

Third, the time is right because the world understands
the urgency of supporting these negotiations. We appreciate that
representatives from so many governments and international institutions have
come to join us here in Annapolis — especially the Arab world. We’re here
because we recognize what is at stake. We are here because we each have a vital
role to play in helping Palestinians forge the institutions of a free society.
We’re here because we understand that the success of these efforts to achieve
peace between Israelis and Palestinians will have an impact far beyond the Holy

These are the reasons we’ve gathered here in
Annapolis. And now we begin the difficult work of freedom and peace. The United
States is proud to host this meeting — and we reaffirm the path to peace set
out in the road map. Yet in the end, the outcome of the negotiations they
launch here depends on the Israelis and Palestinians themselves. America will
do everything in our power to support their quest for peace, but we cannot
achieve it for them. The success of these efforts will require that all parties
show patience and flexibility — and meet their responsibilities.

For these negotiations to succeed, the Palestinians must do their part.
They must show the world they understand that while the borders of a
Palestinian state are important, the nature of a Palestinian state is just as
important. They must demonstrate that a Palestinian state will create
opportunity for all its citizens, and govern justly, and dismantle the
infrastructure of terror. They must show that a Palestinian state will accept
its responsibility, and have the capability to be a source of stability and
peace — for its own citizens, for the people of Israel, and for the whole

The Israelis must do their part. They must show the
world that they are ready to begin — to bring an end to the occupation that
began in 1967 through a negotiated settlement. This settlement will establish
Palestine as a Palestinian homeland, just as Israel is a homeland for the
Jewish people. Israel must demonstrate its support for the creation of a
prosperous and successful Palestinian state by removing unauthorized outposts,
ending settlement expansion, and finding other ways for the Palestinian
Authority to exercise its responsibilities without compromising Israel’s


Arab states also have a vital role to play.
Relaunching the Arab League initiative and the Arab League’s support for
today’s conference are positive steps. All Arab states should show their strong
support for the government of President Abbas — and provide needed assistance
to the Palestinian Authority. Arab states should also reach out to Israel, work
toward the normalization of relations, and demonstrate in both word and deed
that they believe that Israel and its people have a permanent home in the
Middle East. These are vital steps toward the comprehensive peace that we all

Finally, the international community has important
responsibilities. Prime Minister Fayyad is finalizing a plan to increase
openness and transparency and accountability throughout Palestinian society —
and he needs the resources and support from the international community. With
strong backing from those gathered here, the Palestinian government can build
the free institutions that will support a free Palestinian state.

The United States will help Palestinian leaders build
these free institutions — and the United States will keep its commitment to
the security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people.

The United States strongly feels that these efforts
will yield the peace that we want — and that is why we will continue to
support the Lebanese people. We believe democracy brings peace. And democracy
in Lebanon is vital, as well, for the peace in the Middle East. Lebanese people
are in the process of electing a president. That decision is for the Lebanese
people to make — and they must be able to do so free from outside interference
and intimidation. As they embark on this process, the people of Lebanon can
know that the American people stand with them — and we look forward to the day
when the people of Lebanon can enjoy the blessings of liberty without fear of
violence or coercion.

The task begun here at Annapolis will be difficult.
This is the beginning of the process, not the end of it — and no doubt a lot
of work remains to be done. Yet the parties can approach this work with
confidence. The time is right. The cause is just. And with hard effort, I know
they can succeed.

President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, I pledge to
devote my effort during my time as President to do all I can to help you
achieve this ambitious goal. I give you my personal commitment to support your
work with the resources and resolve of the American government. I believe a day
is coming when freedom will yield the peace we desire. And the land that is
holy to so many will see the light of peace.


The day is coming when Palestinians will enjoy the
blessings that freedom brings — and all Israelis will enjoy the security they
deserve. That day is coming. The day is coming when the terrorists and
extremists who threaten the Israeli and Palestinian people will be marginalized
and eventually defeated. And when that day comes, future generations will look
to the work we began here at Annapolis. They will give thanks to the leaders who
gathered on the banks of the Chesapeake for their vision, their wisdom and
courage to choose a future of freedom and peace.

Thanks for coming. May God bless their work. (Applause.)