Meeting today in Jerusalem with President Shimon Peres of Israel, Secretary Clinton said, "I see the future that can deliver on the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for this city, and which safeguards its meaning forever. And that is why we are here today, because we are convinced that the legitimate aspirations of these two peoples are not incompatible. We are also convinced that peace is both necessary and possible, and that this is a moment of opportunity that must be seized.
"President Peres referred to the challenges that confront the people of this region. Those challenges make our task even more urgent. Now, I appreciate the skepticism that many Israelis feel, the doubt and the disappointment over so many failed efforts and continuing conflict. But Shimon has lived long enough to see more than his share of frustrated hopes and dreams deferred, yet he remains an eternal optimist, with his feet firmly planted in the real world. And I take great inspiration from your example.
"He understands better than most the fundamental reality facing the State of Israel, that the status quo is unsustainable -- now, that doesn't mean that it can't be sustained for a year or a decade, or two or three, but fundamentally, the status quo is unsustainable -- and that the only path to ensure Israel's future as a secure and democratic Jewish state is through a negotiated two-state solution, and a comprehensive regional peace.
"Shimon also understands the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for dignity, self-determination, and a state of their own. And he knows very well, through hard experience, that this effort takes patience, persistence, and leadership. That there will always be obstacles and setbacks is a given. It is always easier to defer or criticize tough decisions than to make them. It is always easier to sit on the sidelines than to roll up your sleeves. It is always easier to doubt than to trust.
"President Peres has never been one to sit on the sidelines. And, thankfully, we now have, with Prime Minister Netanyahu, a leader who understands how important it is to move forward. And as he has said, we also have a Palestinian president who shares that determination. I have sat with these two men, individually and together. I have listened to them talk candidly and forcefully. They are getting down to business, and they have begun to grapple with the core issues that can only be resolved through face-to-face negotiations.
"I believe they are serious about reaching an agreement that results in two states living side by side in peace and security. That outcome is not only in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians, it is in the interests of the United States and people everywhere. This is the time and these are the leaders. And the United States will stand by them as they make difficult decisions. We will be an active and sustained partner throughout this effort, and I look forward to continuing our talks today, here in Jerusalem."
You can read the full remarks here.
Full coverage of Secretary Clinton's travel to Sharm el-Sheikh, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Amman is available here.