English Pages, 13. 5. 2008
Dear Mr. Ambassador, dear ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank you for your invitation to this gathering, which takes place on the occasion of the Independence Day of your country and is at the same time a reminder of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.
The story of modern Israel is a story of people longing for freedom, for a return to the sacred places of their ancestors, for a life without persecution and discrimination.
I am glad that sixty years ago my country was on your side, that the Czechoslovak arms, the training of your soldiers on our soil and our instructors could help you to succeed in the war that immediately followed the declaration of independence.
Last time, I was in your country three years ago on a state visit and could see the dynamic development and the undeniable successes your country has reached in many fields. You succeeded to form a nation out of millions of immigrants from all around the world. You succeeded to build and preserve the only democracy in the Middle East.
The 60 years of existence of the State of Israel have, however, also demonstrated how immensely difficult it is to realize such a human dream about freedom. Those 60 years were also an era of wars, permanent tension, terrorism and innocent victims. It was an era of various peace plans to solve the Middle East conflict. Only parts of them, however, were realized.
The people of your country long for peace and I am confident that the same desires exist also on the side of your Arab neighbors. The Czech Republic has intensive ties with many countries in the region and attempts to take a balanced and rational approach towards all of them. I always try to make it clear that political stability and economic prosperity cannot come from the outside and that stable and viable solutions can be generated only by means of a mutual agreement of both sides concerned. No plan brought in from the outside can be successful unless there is a will on both sides to compromise and reach reconciliation.
I wish your country and all its citizens a life without fear. I am glad, Mr. Ambassador, that the relations between our two countries, reestablished after the fall of communism, are very close and friendly, and that the State of Israel has many friends in the Czech Republic and vice-versa.
Please allow me, Mr. Ambassador, to use the opportunity of your Independence Day to wish you once again all the best.
Václav Klaus, Žofín Palace, Prague, 13.5.2008
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