Friends of Israel 311 .
(photo credit: Mark Neiman)
Four of the founding members of The Friends of Israel Initiative, established in
mid- 2010 in Paris, called on President Shimon Peres on Thursday morning to
affirm their support for Israel in the face of recent attempts to delegitimize
The group, led by former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar (who
established the Quartet in Madrid that mediates the Israeli-Palestinian peace
process in 2002), included John Bolton, former United States ambassador to the
United Nations, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lord David Trimble from Northern
Ireland and former senior managing director of Lazard Freres banking group
Blair to return in search for statehood bid solution
Lieberman urges Quartet to call Israel a Jewish state
Aznar declared that Israel is not alone as the sole
Western democracy serving as a model in the Middle East, and must have
The FII rejects any unilateral action that will break away from
the negotiating table, now that the Palestinians are looking towards unilateral
recognition by the United Nations, he said.
“The way to peace is not
through unilateral recognition,” Aznar insisted.
Peres, in expressing
appreciation to the group, said that ostensibly, the peace process is a failure,
and although it would appear that the Quartet did not make any significant
breakthrough, the fact is that only two or three points of disagreement remain –
which proves that there was agreement on all other issues
Part of the disagreement is a matter of language and not of
content, he said.
In his own discussions with the Palestinians, he said
he told them repeatedly that the UN is not a solution, adding that a unilateral
declaration of a Palestinian state is nothing more than a declaration, and will
not lead to peace or statehood.
At the same time, Peres – despite
Israel’s diplomatic campaign to have the UN vote go against the Palestinians –
conceded the possibility that this effort will fail.
“There is a built-in
anti- Israel majority at the United Nations. We don’t stand a chance,” he
In his discussions with UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, Peres
asked him whether the UN could stop terror, stop Iran, why it accepted Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when what he said contravened the UN Charter, and
whether the UN could stop the smuggling of arms.
difficulties, Peres urged his guests not to give up.
“All sides worked
hard to arrive at where we are today,” he said.
Turning to recent
developments in the region, Peres said. “Now we are in a new situation in the
While supporting the aims of the young people who had
brought about the change, Peres was not certain that their efforts would be
successful, because a mere change of government will not necessarily provide,
jobs, food, water and freedom.
It was regrettable he said, that the
higher the education of young people throughout the Middle East, the higher the
ratio of joblessness, because there are insufficient hi-tech jobs available in
the Arab world.
Israel, which has utilized hi-tech to provide food and
increased agricultural yields, could help them, Peres said.