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Israel honors Bill Clinton for work on 'two-state solution'

June 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM   |   Comments

JERUSALEM, June 19 (UPI) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said "there are no perfect solutions" for Middle East peace as he received Israel's highest civilian honor Wednesday.

Israeli President Shimon Peres presented Clinton the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in helping resolve conflicts with the Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Opening his speech by addressing Clinton as "my dear friend," Peres told the former president "your work laid the foundations which will one day bring peace to our region -- the two-state solution."

"Your unwavering commitment to the Jewish people and your moving support for Israel will always be cherished by each and every one of us," Peres said.

Clinton said "there are no perfect solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict."

"I accept this award because I feel like a poor pilgrim on a constant journey to expand the definition of 'us' and shrink the definition of 'them,'" Haaretz reported.

Peres jokingly told Clinton: "You are achieving just as much out of office as you did in it. It is tempting me into early retirement."

The award, similar to the French Legion of Honor or the U.S. Medal of Freedom, is given to people or groups deemed to have contributed to Israel or humanity. Clinton was honored for his humanitarian work and that of his William J. Clinton Foundation.

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