Peres Abbas and Kerry at WEC 370.
(photo credit: World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell)
President Shimon Peres Sunday called on Israelis and Palestinians to
resume peace negotiations as soon as possible under the framework of an
agreed upon common ground of a two-state solution.
speaking at the culmination of the World Economic Forum held at the King
Hussein Convention Center on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, said now is time for both sides to overcome the difficulties and dangers obstructing renewed strides for peace.
holds back the renewal of the peace negotiation are some gaps in the
bridge between the beginning and the conclusion. Knowing very well the
nature of the missing link, I am convinced that this gap can be
bridged," Peres said calling on leaders of both sides to advance peace
Peres called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a partner of Israel's and
recent US efforts to contribute to completing the peace process and the
the Arab Peace Initiative as a strategic opportunity for approaching
"We must depart from the skepticism that claims that war is inevitable. War is not inevitable. Peace is inevitable." he said.
the many hurdles on the way to peace, we must never lose sight of the
positive developments in our region," Peres said citing peace agreements
that have been fostered between Egypt and Israel and Jordan and Israel.
peace must include the right of return to Palestinian refugees and the
release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.
The PA president also
called on Israelis to read the Arab Peace Initiative, withdraw to the
pre-1967 lines, and allow Jerusalem to be the capital of both states.
In his speech, Abbas also stressed the Palestinians will not agree to temporary borders.
He said the Palestinian people are eager for peace, and rejected claims Palestinian textbooks instigate against Israel.
He said the two-state solution is at risk, accusing the new generation of Israelis of not believing in it.
the President expressed Israel's willingness to extend its hand in
peace to all nations in the Middle East, he warned against international
toleration of the Iranian regime's "brutal threatening weapons as a
norm for the rest of the world," adding that the "only enemies are the
enemies to peace."
He was expected to say there is clear acceptance in Israel for a two-state solution
based on the 1967 lines, with agreed to and equal border revisions, according to Hebrew daily Ma’ariv.
As he arrived in Jordan earlier Sunday, Peres urged people not to be cynical about the process. The beginning
point, the Palestinian Authority, is already known, as is the end point,
which is a two-state solution, Peres said.
“I am aware of the
missing links residing between those two ends. From my experience I
believe it is possible to overcome, it doesn't require too much time,”
“It is urgent, we shouldn't lose the opportunity
because it will be replaced by a great disappointment,” Peres said. “We
have overcome skepticism and doubts. I believe it is a real
possibility,” he added.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, however, was less optimistic. For direct Israeli Palestinian negotiations to resume, “what is needed is for the Israeli prime minister to announce publicly his acceptance of two states on 1967, he needs to say it,” said Erekat.
He also told a reporter that he did not believe the resumption of direct talks were possible without a settlement freeze.
Erekat added that Netanyahu, and not Peres, need to talks about a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines.
“We all agree with President Shimon Peres, But I think Mr. Peres should focus on one thing, on convincing his Prime Minister Netanyahu to accept a two state solution on 1967,” Erekat said.
Still, he did not dismiss Kerry’s efforts to break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians, but said that more time was needed to see if Kerry’s work would bear fruit.