This month marks the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of Israel as a Jewish state. In a speech in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke about American support for Israel:
"For sixty years now, American administrations – Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, have differed over many, many things, but one thing unites our government: we are committed to the freedom, the well being, and the security of our democratic ally, Israel."
Secretary of State Rice reaffirmed U.S. support for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a peace that would lead to two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side. That goal, she said, is under threat from extremists, like Hamas, who have chosen terrorism over politics:
"They are refusing to renounce violence, refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and refusing to respect all previous Palestinian agreements with Israel. But perhaps of deepest concern, the leaders of Hamas are increasingly serving as the proxy warriors of an Iranian regime that is destabilizing the region, seeking a nuclear capability, and proclaiming its desire to destroy Israel."
"Let me be very clear," said Secretary of State Rice. "We have a vital interest in peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But I want also to be very clear about the following: we will defend against any action, as we always have, that would compromise Israel’s security."
Ms. Rice said that the legitimate government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has the will to fight terrorism and the desire to govern effectively. But these Palestinian leaders need the support of the international community. "And," said Ms. Rice, "they need most the support of their fellow Arabs, who must show Israel – now, not later – that they believe it has a rightful place in the Middle East."