Address at the Madrid Peace Conference

The people of Israel look to this palace with great anticipation and expectation. We pray that this meeting will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Middle East; that it will signal the end of hostility, violence, terror and war; that it will bring dialogue, accommodation, coexistence and above all peace.

For many hundreds of years, wars, antagonisms and terrible sufferings cursed this continent on which we meet. The nations of Europe saw the rise of dictators and their defeat after lengthy and painful struggles. Now, they are together former bitter enemies in a united community. They are discussing the good of the community, cooperating in all matters, acting almost in one unit. I envy them. I would like to see such a community rise in the Middle East. And I believe that, despite all differences between us, we should be able, gradually, to build a united regional community. Today it is a dream but we have seen, in our own lifetime, some of the most fantastic dreams become reality. Today, the gulf separating the two sides is still too wide; the Arab hostility to Israel too deep; the lack of trust too intense, to permit a dramatic, quick solution. But we must start on the long road to reconciliation with this first step in the peace process.

We believe that the blessing of peace can turn the Middle East into a paradise; a center of cultural, scientific, medical and technological creativity. We can foresee a period of great economic progress that would put an end to misery, hunger and illiteracy. It could put the Middle East the cradle of civilization on the road to a new era.

Let us resolve to leave this hall with a united determination that from now on, any differences we may have will be solved only by negotiations, goodwill and mutual tolerance. Let us declare, here and now, an end to war, to belligerency and to hostility. Let us march forward together, to reconciliation and peace.

Enviado por Enrique Ibañes