Rosh Hashanah Interview With Dan Raviv of Israel Television.
THE PRESIDENT. I'm very pleased to speak with the people of Israel on the joyous occasion of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5741. It's a time both to recall the past and to look forward to the future. Rosh Hashanah falls this year on an historic anniversary: It's been 2 years since Prime Minister Begin, President Sadat, and I met at Camp David.
For 13 days and nights we worked there together, seeking one overriding objective, a secure and lasting peace in the Middle East. All the hopes of many generations came together at that time. We succeeded, largely because of the courage and vision of your Prime Minister and of the President of Egypt. Then, for the first time since Israel's rebirth as a modern state, peace came—a real peace between Israel and Egypt. The people of America joined our friends in Israel in rejoicing.
Now my country is working as a full partner with Israel and Egypt to complete the process so hopefully begun at Camp David. For the past 16 months, we've labored together to make possible the next great step toward our vital goals. Much remains to be done. Progress may be slow. Yet, as we learned at Camp David, we must never relent; we must never yield in the face of temporary difficulties. We must persevere just as we did last week in mutually arranging for Israel and Egypt to resume the autonomy negotiations.
The commitment of all three parties is clear. And to that I add my personal commitment to do all that I can to make possible the realization of the ancient dream of the Jewish people—security and peace in the land of your fathers.
As this New Year begins, I reaffirm the commitment of the American Nation and its Government to the indestructible ties of friendship between us and the people of Israel. Together we share a special relationship, a unique indelible relationship based on deep devotion to the same moral and democratic ideals. The United States is now and forever committed to a secure and free Israel, an Israel whose security and well-being are fundamental to our own strategic, political, and moral concerns. And to this I add my own personal commitment as President of the United States. This policy will not change.
So, I join you at this New Year in looking to a future of hope and promise. May this be the year of the next great steps towards a permanent and lasting peace.
MR. RAVIV. Mr. President, if I may ask you, this is an election year, and the Jewish vote might be decisive—but I don't have to tell you about it. There is a theory, Mr. President, that after the election, without the fear of the voters, you'll come down on Israel as strongly as you came over disputable topics between your administration and the Israeli Government, like settlements, Jerusalem, Palestinians. Would you please comment on that?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. As I said to the B'nai B'rith annual meeting this past week, there will not be one policy or attitude toward Israel before the election and a different policy or attitude after the election.
I've been in office now for 3 1/2 years, and our American position, which is clearly understood by Prime Minister Begin and also by President Sadat and the American public, is sound, undeviating, and I think it's conducive to the full realization of the hopes that all of us have for peace. There is no possibility that the American public or the American Government would change its basic attitude toward Israel—that of insisting upon a secure Israel, an independent and free Israel, an Israel which is able to live in peace with all her neighbors, and an Israel which is given a full voice in any agreement that might be hammered out in the careful and sometimes tedious negotiations that are ahead of us.
I have also a need to make clear one other thing. My positions toward the settlements, toward the West Bank, toward the security of Israel, toward the intimate ties that bind our two countries together, toward the mutual benefits that are derived from this strategic interrelationship, our commitment to aid for Israel, economic and military aid, are clearly understood by President Sadat, and they're clearly understood by other Arab leaders in the area. I had a recent meeting with King Hussein. I have nothing to conceal and no inclination to change. We are deeply committed to the peace process, and it would be devastating to me as a mediator, a full partner in the negotiations, if I changed my position in any material way.
What I want to do is to work closely with the leaders of Israel and the leaders of Egypt to find a secure peace for all, understanding that both nations individually and other nations in the future would have to agree to a comprehensive peace settlement when it is devised through negotiations.
MR. RAVIV. Mr. President, on behalf of the Israel television, thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. My best wishes to all the people of your great country.
Note: The interview began at 9:50 a.m. in the Library at the White House. It was taped for broadcast in Israel on September 9.
Jimmy Carter, Rosh Hashanah Interview With Dan Raviv of Israel Television. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250769