Israel should recognize Palestine as a full member of the United
Nations, outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Saturday at a
weekly cultural event in Holon.
"Israel will give the
Palestinians sovereignty and independence and in return, they will
recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and will
guarantee security arrangements," he said.
Ayalon called on Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to say to the Palestinians: "I am prepared
to recognize you, but you have to recognize me."
Ayalon also said
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must state in Arabic -
rather than in Hebrew or English - that he recognizes Israel as the
national homeland of the Jewish people. He opined that such a statement
would have a huge impact on generations to come.
Abbas is interested in reaching an agreement, Ayalon replied that even
the minimum that the Palestinians are demanding is not aligned with what
Israel is willing to give. "Abbas wants to preserve the status of being
the president that achieved wide international recognition for the
Palestinians without relinquishing Jerusalem or the right of return," he
Addressing US President Barack Obama's recent announcement
that he will be visiting Israel in the spring, Ayalon said he expected
that there would be a three-way summit meeting between Netanyahu, Abbas
and Obama, or perhaps even a four-way meeting in Amman with Jordanian
King Abdullah II.
He referred to the upcoming visit as an
American interest, that should put Obama back in a position of
leadership in the dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He added
that the trip would pave the way for the new US Secretary of State John
Kerry, as the person who will continue negotiations between the parties.
"If the president's visit does not yield results, it will raise a lot
of doubts and criticism," Ayalon asserted.
Kerry is expected to make his first visit to Israel in his new role next week.
'The world treated Liberman like a leper'
to his relationship with former foreign minister and Yisrael Beytenu
leader Avigdor Liberman, Ayalon said that the latter did not explain why
he fired him and opined that he should have "at least given reasons to
the party (Yisrael Beytenu) and his supporters." Ayalon was one of three
Yisrael Beytenu MKs not included on the party's list for the recent
He said that in the four years that he served as
Liberman's deputy he felt a duty to defend him, when across the world
"he was treated like a leper." He said that out of respect he would not
repeat what he had heard said of Liberman, but added that his
undiplomatic statements did not help the world view of him.
refused to grade Liberman as a foreign minister, simply stating that he
has done his best in challenging times. When questioned over who should
serve as Israel's next foreign minster, Ayalon threw his support behind
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, as well as nominating himself.