Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Thursday told former US president Jimmy Carter that after his visits to Hamas senior official Khaled Mashal and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Israelis see him as "supporting Hamas."

Carter responded that the purpose of his visit is to bring peace to the region, and meet with all sides involved in the conflict. He said his role is to listen, and not support.

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Rivlin met with Carter and others on the Elders mission as part of an international group of veteran statesmen that sets out to offer "collective influence and experience to support peace building."

Rivlin said that Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem live side by side. He made the comments during a tour that the delegation did in the east Jerusalem village of Silwan.

"There is no way that the city can be divided, a step like this will turn Jerusalem into another Belfast," Rivlin said.


Rivlin slammed suggestions that the Jews are allowed to live in a large area of Palestinian sovereignty.

Ireland's former President Mary Robinson claimed that legislation in Israel includes dozens of bills that are racist towards Arabs. Rivlin explained that Arabs do not serve in the IDF, for understandable reasons, and in light of this there is a preference for those that serve in the army when it comes to certain issues.

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