Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on Israel-United States Relations


April 21, 1988


Today, on the 40th anniversary of Israel's independence, the United States and Israel have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA). This MOA formalizes and perpetuates the bilateral U.S. and Israeli consultative groups that meet periodically to discuss joint military, security assistance, and economic developmental questions. The MOA reiterates for the public record our long-standing relationship of strategic cooperation with Israel. Strategic cooperation can only succeed when there are shared interests, including the commitment to building peace and stability in the region. It reflects the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel's security. That commitment will never flag. The U.S. commitment to peace will also not flag. The President knows that a strong Israel is necessary if peace is to be possible. He also knows that Israel can never be truly secure without peace.


To that end, the President has asked Secretary of State Shultz to continue his peace-making efforts, seeking a comprehensive settlement which will assure Israeli security and provide for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The President remains convinced that our peace initiative is balanced and offers the only realistic basis on which to make progress. The President reiterates his appeal to the leaders in the region not to miss this opportunity to move ahead and get to productive peace negotiations. This is an objective that Israel has fervently sought over the last 40 years.