Yuval Steinitz 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
In anticipation of the upcoming renewal of peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz told the The British Telegraph newspaper that Israel was willing to compromise in order to reach an agreement.
“We are prepared to make considerable concessions and it’s not going to be easy,” Steinitz said, The Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday.
"We are ready for a two states for two people solution," he said.
In an interview with The Telegraph
, Steinitz stated: "Both sides will have to make very significant concessions and very difficult concessions. We will probably have to make very serious territorial concessions."
"And the Palestinians will have to make also both territorial concessions - because there will be settlement blocks - but more important still they will have to recognize the very existence of the Jewish people and the Jewish state," the international relations minister added.
Steinitz added that the Palestinians refugees from the Israeli war of 1948 would also have to abandon the "right of return" to their homes.
On Jerusalem the minister was uncompromising and said that the "status quo was the only option."
Steinitz told The Telegraph
Israel is "ready" for the two state solution, but vowed Israel would hold a referendum before ending the conflict.
He said that he was confident most Israelis would support the referendum on the condition that they could be "totally convinced" that they would be getting in return a "genuine, enduring peace and real security."
He added that a "demilitarized" Palestinian state was the “only possible solution” to the conflict.
Israeli-Palestinian talks are likely to be renewed on July 30
in the United States, Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) said on Thursday in Jericho, while making the first visit by a high-ranking Israeli official to Area A of the West Bank in over four years.
“We hope that the talks will begin next week in Washington between Israeli and Palestinian representatives,” Shalom said.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.