We have an opportunity to break away from the path of blood which has been forced on us over the past four years. We have an opportunity to start on a new path. For the first time in a long time there exists in our region hope for a better future for our children and grandchildren.
We must move forward cautiously. This is a very fragile opportunity, one the extremists will want to exploit. They want to close the window of opportunity for us and allow our two peoples to drown in their blood.
If we do not act now they may be successful.
There is only one answer to them: We must all announce here, today, that violence will not win, that violence will not be allowed to murder hope. We must all make a commitment not to agree to a temporary solution, not to allow violence to raise its head, but to act together, determinedly, to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, to disarm and subdue it once and for all. Only by crushing terror and violence will we build peace.
I have no intention of missing this opportunity – because we must not let the new spirit, which grants our peoples hope, pass us by and leave us empty-handed.
That is why we have acted quickly and with determination, with an understanding of the needs of the Palestinian side. Over the past few days we have reached a number of understandings with our Palestinian colleagues. These will enable us to grant both peoples tranquility and security for the near future.
Today, in my meeting with Chairman Abbas, we agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere and that, in parallel, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians anywhere.
We hope that today we are beginning a new period of tranquility and hope. Furthermore, we agreed on a process of transferring security responsibility for Palestinian areas.
I informed Chairman Abbas of our intention to take a series of confidence-building measures; soon we will release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and also establish a joint committee to explore future prisoner releases.
We wish to conduct a genuine and honest dialogue in order to transform these first steps into a sound basis for the foundation of our relations.
I am determined to carry out the disengagement plan I initiated. This plan was initiated by a unilateral decision. Now, if new change emerges on the Palestinian side, the disengagement can bring hope and become the new starting point for a coordinated, successful process.
The disengagement plan can pave the way to implementation of the road map, to which we are committed and which we want to implement. We are prepared to actively fulfill all our obligations, and we expect the other side to carry out all its obligations.
Actions alone, and not words – this is the only way to attain the vision of two states living side by side in peace and tranquility.
To our Palestinian neighbors: I assure you that we have a genuine intention to respect your right to live independently and in dignity. I have already said that Israel has no desire to continue to govern over you and control your fate.
We in Israel have had to awaken from our dreams, painfully; we are determined to overcome every obstacle that might stand in our path in order to realize the new chance that has been created.
You, too, must prove that you have the strength and the courage to compromise, abandon unrealistic dreams, subdue the forces that oppose peace and live in peace and mutual respect side by side with us.
To the citizens of Israel, I say: We have gone through difficult years, faced the most painful experiences and overcome them. The future lies before us. We are required to take difficult and controversial steps, but we must not miss the opportunity to try to achieve what we have wished for, for so many years: security, tranquility and peace.
May we all be found deserving of this great opportunity which we have been granted.