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pd08no99 Joint Statement by President Clinton and Prime Minister Kjell Bondevik...
Arafat have made some real movement forward. They've made some hard decisions. They're working hard on preserving security and fighting terrorism, and they're making progress in implementing the provisions of the Oslo agreement. We actually have a chance within the reasonably near future for peace for Israel and its neighbors, for security so necessary for progress and prosperity, and freedom and justice all across that region. But like all chances in life, it is fleeting. It will require hard choices and hard work within a short time frame. And it cannot be done without the support of the most determined friends of peace, like those of you in this room. I still believe that we're either going to go forward or drift backward. We can't just freeze this moment. The region could reverse course. There's still plenty of extremists and terrorists out there. There's still people all over the world who represent the forces [[Page 2209]] of destruction and the enemies of the nation-state--not simply Israel, but everywhere, working to develop weapons of massive destruction that can be miniaturized and carried around and used at a moment's notice. And the same technology that gives you a tiny, tiny cell phone that guys with big fingers like me can hardly dial these days will lead to the miniaturization of weapons in the 21st century. Make no mistake about it. Our problems with the enemies of peace, with the terrorists, are far from over. And I'll make you a prediction. Within 10 years, it will be normal to see a very sophisticated alliance all around the world between terrorists, drug runners, and organized crime, maximizing the same modern technologies that we all seek to access to do good. This is the moment that we must seize. It is so important for America to support the peace process and to provide the resources to make peace work. I don't know how many times I have heard one of my leaders at the Pentagon say, ``Mr. President, the most expensive peace is far, far cheaper than the cheapest war.'' It is inexcusable that we would not fund a national security budget for peace, necessary to meet our responsibilities in the Middle East. Congress sent me a foreign aid bill without the $800 million I requested this year, or the $500 million for next year to fund our part of the Wye River agreement. The bill sent a terrible signal to our friends in the Middle East, the strongest possible encouragement to the enemies of peace that there will be no immediate rewards for peace. That's why I vetoed it, and I'll veto it again if it doesn't provide for the funding of our obligations around the world. I ask you to support the other provisions of the bill, the funds necessary to reduce the nuclear threat from Russia, to provide debt relief to the poorest countries as the Pope and so many others have asked us to do in the millennial year, to meet our obligations to the United Nations, to do the other things that promote democracy and opportunities for trade and investment. We must sustain America's leadership. I want you to know, on a subject I know you care a lot about, I have urged the Russian leadership not to allow the current challenges they face to undermine respect for human rights and individual liberty and opposition to anti-Semitism in Russia. If we want--I will say again, if we want to have influence with other countries, none of them are asking us to buy our way into their favor. But as the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world at the moment of our greatest success, for us not to even pay our fair share when already we spend a smaller percentage of our income on nonmilitary national security measures than any major country in the world is inexcusable. So for all of those other challenges I mentioned, we must be a force for good around the world. And we cannot do that for free. We get a lot out of our interdependence with others. We contribute to the United Nations so that when something happens like Kosovo--yes, our planes flew the bulk of the mission and, yes, we bore the bulk of the financial burdens to save those 800,000 people from ethnic cleansing, and I'm glad we did it. But today, as they work to rebuild, the bulk of the burdens in manpower and in money is being borne by our Allies in Europe. Yes, it was necessary for the United States to take a strong position on the problem in East Timor to stop the terrible slaughter there as a result of their vote for independence. But now the bulk of the load is being carried by our friends, like Australia and Malaysia and others there, because we live in an interdependent world where we share responsibility. Yes, we spend some money in Africa to train troops, but that means the next time a horrible slaughter like Rwanda comes along, it can be handled by the Africans and we can give them support, and they won't have to look at us and say, ``Why didn't you send 100,000 Americans to stop this before it started?'' We get a lot out of being good neighbors and responsible parties, and we need to continue to do it. The last point I want to make is one the ADL well knows. We can't be a force for good abroad unless we are a force for good at home. And while, thank God, we have been spared the ravages in the modern age of mass conflict based on religion as in [[Page 2210]] Northern Ireland, or religion and ethnic differences as in the Middle East or the Balkans, or tribal bloodshed as in Rwanda, Burundi, and other places in Africa. We see in these hate crimes--the murder of young Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, the horrible dragging death of James Byrd in Texas, the killing of the postman, the Filipino postman; and the shooting of the children at the Jewish community center in Los Angeles, the murder spree in the Midwest that took the lives of the African-American basketball coach outside Chicago and a young Korean Christian as he walked outside his church, those perpetrated by a man who claimed he belonged to a church that did not believe in God, but did believe in white supremacy--we see that we are not immune from this. And why is that? Because it is a part of human nature. Why was it in the Torah in that provision I read earlier? Because of the knowledge from God that in us, there is all the tendency, in all of us, to turn away from the right of a stranger. Every one of us, I believe--maybe you don't; maybe you guys are perfect--I wake up every day, and I know--I sort of think of my life and my attitude toward the world and of its people as being governed by an internal scale, and on one side of the scale there is light and on the other side there is darkness. And you always want it tilting toward the light, but not so much as to be naive, but enough to have a genuine charitable view toward others--a genuine respect, a genuine humility-- and understand that you may not always be right, but you have an obligation to recognize the integrity and the common humanity of others. But it's easy to get that scale out of balance. Even all of us have our good days and our bad days. When it gets badly out of balance, then the fear and the dehumanization of the other drives people to these terrible, tormented acts of slaughter. Sometimes there's a political patina on it, so people can actually act as if it's justified. Sometimes it's just some poor, demented, twisted soul, acting out of pain and fear and anger and blindness. Nothing is more important to our future than flushing that not only from the killers but flushing that feeling in its less violent manifestations from all of our hearts. If I could leave America after my Presidency with one wish, it would be to be one America--to revel in our diversity, to respect it, to celebrate it, to enjoy it, to make it interesting. It can only happen--you can only have fun--in a diverse country. You can only find it interesting to examine whether someone else's religious perspective or cultural heritage has some validity for you, something you can learn--you can only really revel in it if you believe that our common humanity is more important than the things which make us different. Now, that means, it seems to me, we need to stand against manifestations of our inhumanity, and we need to do more to reaffirm our common humanity. That's why I was so disturbed when the Republican majority on the relevant committees of Congress took out the hate crimes legislation in the form of the bill that had already passed the Senate. I vetoed the bill that came to me, in part because it didn't contain those hate crimes provisions. And I think it's very important that we say, ``Look, it's not that the victims of these hate crimes''--you know, the people that say we don't need these things are saying, ``You're saying those victims are more important than other victims.'' That's not true. What we are saying is that hate crimes victimize not only the victim but they victimize society as a whole in a special way, because they contradict the very idea of America we are trying to build. We're not letting somebody else off the hook. We're saying we want a clear and unambiguous stand against things that contradict the very idea of the America we want to build. The other point I'd like to make is, it's not enough just to be against things. We need to be for things that will enable us to live up to our full potential. That's why I'm also for strengthening the equal pay law, for the ``Employment Non-Discrimination Act,'' or the so-called Kennedy-Jeffords bill to let people with disabilities go into the workplace and keep their Government health care through Medicaid, so that they can work and be a part of our society. We need to be for things that bring us together. I want to close with these two stories. I told you earlier we had this millennial [[Page 2211]] evening at the White House, with the genome scholar from Harvard and Vint Cerf, who was one of the architects of the Internet. And we were talking about--they were talking about how the mysteries of the human gene could not have been solved without the advances in computer science. And then they put them all up on the screens, the formula for what our genes look like. And I pretended to understand that. [Laughter] But I did understand the point they were making. So I said to them, I said, ``Look, with these 100,000 sequences and all the possibilities and permutations, how much are we alike or different?'' And Professor Lander said, ``The truth is that all people, genetically, are 99.9 percent the same.'' That confirms your philosophy, right? Here's the next point he made, which is more interesting to me. He said if you were to get groups of people together by ethnicity or race-- let's suppose you've got 100 European Jews together, and you've got 100 Arabs, and you've got 100 Iranians, and then you've got 100 people from the Yoruba Tribe in Nigeria, and you've got 100 Irish people together, and you put them all in a room with their groups, here's what they said. They said the genetic differences among the individual groups--that is, among the Yorubas, among the Irish, among the Jews, among the Arabs--the genetic differences within the groups would be greater than the genetic differences between any one group and any other group. Now, think about that. When you look at a profile of any sizeable ethnic group--Hispanic, African, you name it--the genetic differences of the individuals within the group are greater than the group genetic profile of one group as compared with another. In other words, the most advanced scientific knowledge confirms the wisdom of the Torah and tells us not to turn aside a stranger. Because it turns out a stranger is not so strange after all. In the summer of 1994, as I remember, it was just before we went to the Wadi Araba to sign the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. The late Prime Minister Rabin and the late King Hussein addressed the United States Congress. Near the end of his speech, Rabin turned to Hussein and said, and I quote, ``We have both seen a lot in our lifetime. We have seen too much suffering. What will you leave to your children? What will I leave to my grandchildren? I have only dreams,'' he said, ``to build a better world--a world of understanding and harmony; a world in which it is a joy to live. That is not asking for too much.'' That dream has united those of you in this organization for 85 years now. That dream in our time requires us to build one America and requires America to be a force for peace and harmony in the world. Think of it--Rabin gave his life so that we might build a world in which it is a joy to live. It is not asking for too much, but it will require all we can give. Thank you, and God bless you. Note: The President spoke at 9:25 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Howard P. Berkowitz, national chairman, Abraham H. Foxman, national director, and Glenn Tobias, national executive committee chairman, Anti-Defamation League; Atlanta City Council President Robb Pitts; De Kalb County Chief Executive Liane Levetan; Representative John Lewis' wife, Lillian; Vinton G. Cerf, senior vice president of Internet architecture and technology, MCI WorldCom, and his wife, Sigrid; Eric Lander, director, Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research; Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel; and Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority. This item was not received in time for publication in the appropriate issue. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 2211-2212] Monday, November 8, 1999 Volume 35--Number 44 Pages 2199-2266 Week Ending Friday, November 5, 1999 The President's Radio Address October 30, 1999 Good morning. Two weeks ago I reaffirmed our Nation's commitment to environmental protection and announced our plan to protect more than 40 million acres of roadless area in our national forests. Today I'm announcing new actions we're taking to protect our air, our water, and some of our most precious lands. One of the simplest but most potent tools in our fight against pollution is public information. By requiring industries to tell communities how much they pollute the air and water, we empower citizens to fight back and create a powerful incentive for industry to pollute less. Remarkably, in the decades [[Page 2212]] since the public's right-to-know about chemical releases became the law of the land, industry's toxic pollution has fallen nearly 50 percent. Today, my administration is again expanding the public's right-to- know. We're acting to protect families against some of the most dangerous chemicals ever known, including mercury, dioxin, and PCB's. These chemicals are troubling for two reasons. First, they don't break down easily; instead, they build up in the environment and in our bodies. Second, many of them heighten the risk of cancer or other illness, even at very low doses. Right now companies are required to disclose their uses of these chemicals only if they handle huge quantities. Beginning January 1st, we'll require companies to inform the public even if they're using much smaller quantities--in some cases, just 10 pounds a year. In the case of dioxin, a chemical that can cause harm even in minute quantities, companies must report if they produce as little as a tenth of a gram. By posting this information for all to see, we can speed the day when families no longer need worry about hidden dangers in the air they breathe and the water they drink. As we step up our fight against pollution, we must work as well to preserve lands across America that are still pristine. Today I'm announcing a new effort to protect the incomparable California desert so future generations can enjoy it in all its splendor. Five years ago I signed the California Desert Act, preserving millions of acres of stark but fragile landscape, rich with history and precious wildlife. Today, to mark the anniversary, the nonprofit Wildlands Conservancy is donating to the Federal Government an additional 14,000 acres within the Joshua Tree National Park--lands that otherwise might be developed. It's through partnerships like this that we can protect vital pieces of our national endowment. We have also just completed our agreement to preserve New Mexico's spectacular Baca Ranch, home to one of the largest herds of wild elk anywhere in the world. I'm working closely with Congress to secure the funding to complete this purchase so that we can preserve this extraordinary land for all time. In my balanced budget for this year, I proposed a $1 billion lands legacy initiative to preserve other natural treasures and to help communities protect local green spaces. Regrettably, Congress has failed to provide even half the necessary funding. And even more troubling, the Interior bill that Congress has produced once again is laden with provisions that would benefit special interests at the expense of our public interest and our environment. One of these provisions would allow excessive logging on our national forests. Another would let mining companies dump more toxic wastes on public lands. A third would grant a windfall to major companies that produce oil on Federal lands. This makes no sense. Today, while I'm taking action to protect communities against toxic chemicals, Congress is giving special interests license to pollute our public lands. While I'm taking action to save some of our most treasured places, Congress is putting other
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