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Jerusalem - Netanyahu Says Willing To Discuss Arab Initiative For Peace With Palestinians

Published on: May 30, 2016 05:38 PM
By: Reuters
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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as Israel's new Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of far-right Yisrael Beitenu party, speaks during a media conference following Lieberman's swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem May 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun  Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as Israel's new Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of far-right Yisrael Beitenu party, speaks during a media conference following Lieberman's swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem May 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held out the prospect on Monday of reviving a 2002 Arab peace initiative that offers Israel diplomatic recognition from Arab countries in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians.

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Netanyahu’s comments were a formal response to a speech last week by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who promised Israel warmer ties if it accepted efforts to resume peace talks.

“The Arab peace initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said, echoing comments he made a year ago to Israeli reporters.

“We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002 but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples,” he added.

His comments were made also in English in a speech that was mostly in Hebrew - a device Netanyahu often uses when he wants to make a statement to the international community.

Netanyahu spoke moments after ultra nationalist Avigdor Lieberman was sworn in as Israel’s new defense minister and Israel’s fragile right-wing coalition gained vital support in parliament.

Lieberman concurred and Netanyahu appeared to indicate that the new far-right defense minister’s inclusion in the government did not spell an end to peace efforts with the Palestinians.

The original Arab plan offered full recognition of Israel but only if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Middle East war and agreed to a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.

But in 2013, after the initiative’s terms were softened to include possible land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians, Netanyahu signaled a readiness to consider it.

Previous attempts to engage the adversaries have come to nought. The Palestinians say Israeli settlement expansion denies them a viable state they seek in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and a capital in Arab East Jerusalem.

Israel has demanded tighter security measures from the Palestinians and a crackdown on militants who have attacked or threaten the safety of Israeli citizens.

In the last half year, Palestinian attacks have killed 28 Israelis and two visiting U.S. citizens. Israeli forces have shot dead at least 195 Palestinians, 134 of whom Israel has said were assailants. Others were killed in clashes and protests.

France is set to host a peace conference of to revive peace efforts on June 3 with the participation of ministers from the Middle East Quartet - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council and about 20 countries.

Neither Israel, which has opposed the gathering, nor the Palestinians, who have welcomed it, have been invited.



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Read Comments (4)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 30, 2016 at 05:47 PM Anonymous Says:

the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result.

2

 May 30, 2016 at 08:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Netanyahu should invite China to broker peace in the entire Middle East, since China knows how to nip terrorism in the bud! They have a great relationship with Israel, and the Arab states as well, which would allow them to play the role of the honest peace broker, and if need be they will send over 100000 peacekeeping troops, especially now after they've invested billions of dollars buying up Israeli industry, and technology, it is only in their self interest to keep their investments safe and secure.in addition Hainan Airlines will be bringing in 100000 chinese tourists this year with each one spending an average of $3000.00, and China wants her tourists to be safe, so Hainan Air will thrive and prosper along with the Israeli tourist industry. If need be China can send their own police force to couple with Israel police as they did in Italy to safeguard their citizens on holiday and business.

3

 May 31, 2016 at 09:25 AM anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result.

Nothing insane about Bibi. If anything he's brilliant. All he's saying he's willing to "discuss" peace. Leave it up to Bibi. He knows that Abbas is too stupid to understand Bibi's placating tactics and wouldn't even agree to come and talk.

4

 May 31, 2016 at 01:07 PM Boomworm120 Says:

"Palestinian attacks have killed 28 Israelis and two visiting U.S. citizens. Israeli forces have shot dead at least 195 Palestinians, 134 of whom Israel has said were assailants. Others were killed in clashes and protests."

Don't try to make the Palestinian's attacks seem so miniscule. How many people have they killed in all the years they've occupied my land?

And can we talk about how many Palestinians are murdered by their own filthy kind in radical Islamic "honor killings?"

5

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