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MODERATOR:  Great.  So thank you, everybody, for being here.  I’m going to introduce our moderator, our Deputy Assistant Secretary Hady Amr.  He’s going to take it from here.  Thank you, sir.

MR AMR:  Thank you so much.  And great to have you all here.  Good evening.  I know some of you.  My name’s Hady Amr, from Washington, working with Secretary Blinken.  As I’ve said before, it’s been a painful few weeks here in this land.  It’s been painful for us but I know it’s been much more painful for all of you.  The conditions that we’ve all seen have been heartbreaking, and I know that you want change and we do too.  As the Secretary said, as the President said, you all equally deserve to live in freedom, security, and prosperity.  And so that’s what we’re here to talk about today, so it’s very, very special for me personally to introduce you to Secretary Blinken.  He’s not just the Secretary of State.  He’s a good man, he’s a father, and he’s got a heart.  And so time is short, but I’d like the Secretary to maybe give some opening remarks and then go into a conversation.  So Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Hady, thank you very, very much.  And thank you all for being here.  I’m really anxious to hear from you so I want to be brief so we can use the time to – for me to learn and to hear from you.  But just a couple of things at the top.

One of the main purposes of my travel here at President Biden’s request is to renew ties between the United States and the Palestinian people, and to build on those ties going forward.  One critical aspect of any democratic society is civil society, and that’s why I’m particularly anxious to have a chance to talk to you.  Your voices, your experience, your insight, your advocacy I think are all critical components for the future.

And as Hady said a moment ago, we feel strongly that whether you’re Israeli, whether you’re Palestinian, you’re entitled to equal measures of peace, security, opportunity, and dignity.  And I know that from your different perspectives, that’s exactly what you’re working on.  So thank you for taking the time this evening.  And I really do want to turn it over to the four of you to hear from you.  So thank you.

MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you, press.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future