PRESIDENT SHIMON Peres chats with North Rhine-Westphalia Minister-President Hannelore Kraft..
(photo credit: RALPH SONDERMANN/NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA STATE CHANCELLERY)
There is hope for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under US Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiative, Hannelore Kraft, minister- president of North Rhine-Westphalia, told President Shimon Peres on Wednesday.
“You always need people who are pushing,” the leader of the state in western Germany told Peres at his official residence in the capital. She praised Kerry for pushing the peace initiative.
Together with the rest of the world, she said, she was looking forward to what would take place at the end of April, the time that Kerry had set down for the two sides to reach a framework for a peace agreement.
If a peace agreement is reached, Israel will stop being the target of attacks and will become a participant in the building of the new Middle East, Peres told Kraft.
People should stop paying attention to so-called experts on the Middle East, because their expertise relates only to the past and not to the present or the future in a rapidly changing world to which it is not always easy to adapt, he said.
Kraft, who was last in Israel in 2011, said she was happy to be back and was optimistic about the peace process simply because there were no direct negotiations in 2011 and there are now.
She told Peres that she would visit Yad Vashem to affirm a continuing relationship with her state. Teachers from North Rhine-Westphalia come to Yad Vashem to learn how to teach the Holocaust to the young generation, she said. “History is very important,” especially when teaching young Germans about what once overtook their country, she said.
Peres, in his discussions with Kraft, mentioned the turmoil in Ukraine, and said Israel related to it with the sentiments of the Cold War.
He wondered aloud about what Russian President Vladimir Putin had achieved in Syria.
Peres said Kraft had always displayed great friendship toward Israel. Kraft credited one of her predecessors, Johannes Rau, who later became president of Germany, with establishing firm ties with the Jewish state, and said that she was merely continuing what he had started.