Excerpts from an April 26, 1999, letter from President Bill Clinton to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat:
Dear Mr. Chairman,
Clearly, the Oslo process has not made the kind of progress we would have hoped to see.
I am asking that you continue to rely on the peace process as the way to fulfill the aspirations of your people. Indeed, negotiations are the only realistic way to fulfill those aspirations.
In this context, and in the spirit of my remarks in Gaza, we support the aspirations of the Palestinian people to determine their own future on their own land. As I said in Gaza, I believe Palestinians should live free today, tomorrow and forever.
The objective of the negotiating process is the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, including land for peace, and all other agreements under the Oslo process.
For these negotiations to succeed, it is vital that the environment in which they occur be credible, serious, and fair. The United States knows how destructive settlement activities, land confiscations, and house demolitions are to the pursuit of Palestinian-Israeli peace. In this regard, we will continue to exert maximum efforts to have both parties avoid unilateral steps or actions designed to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza or to prejudge or preempt issues reserved for permanent status negotiations.