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Special Event

Israeli Cabinet Secretary Yitzhak Herzog Comments on Middle East Peace Process

Aired July 18, 2000 - 12:17 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Also on the mind of Israel's cabinet secretary, Yitzhak Herzog, the Camp David summit. Here now his remarks.

Last week we covered live Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian spokeswoman, now the Israeli.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

YITZHAK HERZOG, ISRAELI CABINET SECRETARY: For the sake of the children, and it is not a cliche, when we are here and at Camp David, the talks, one would say are at their heat, at their peek. And very historical issues are at stake. And the future of us all and our children is being carved out, hopefully for the better, with a peace agreement in hand, but we can only pray for that at this stage.

I say, I definitely feel that I've done the right thing in joining government.

I want to add something else for the record, since I'm not at Camp David, I'm not going to speak or elude to anything that's happening there as if I know better. We all know, as I just said, that the negotiations are very intensive, and we are all very much aware of the -- of President Clinton's timetable.

Other than that, I was asked to speak more about the surrounding circumstances of how things are viewed in Israel, and what would the -- be the legal and political processes that would ensue in case an agreement is reached or otherwise. So I wanted to make that clear to all of you.

In principle, we have seen an evolutionary process since 1977, since the handshake of President Sadat with Prime Minister Begin, and the landing of the President Sadat in Israel.

Thereafter, the Camp David Accords basically are the origin of this evolutionary process, because the Camp David Accords covered the Palestinian question for the first time in the formal sense. And from then on, agreements that have developed or -- and were reached basically stem from those original agreements, which were reached at Camp David by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, in a very courageous and heroic breakthrough with the President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and President Carter of the United States. Thereafter, the process, as some of you very well know, led to other agreements and conferences in Madrid, conferences the Oslo Accords, and from Oslo thereafter, of course, the Oslo I and Oslo II, the Wye and the Sharm al-Sheik agreements. And here we are today with a defined timetable that the core issues must be dealt with, touched without fear to see if both nations can come to an amicable solution to a peace agreement.

SHAW: Here in Washington, at the Israeli Policy Forum, Yitzhak Herzog, the Israeli cabinet secretary, we're told that he prefers to be called Isaac, but they list his first name, according to Israelis, as Yitzhak.

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