'Opportunity for peace with Palestinians still open'

“The shades may be drawn over most of the Middle East, but the window of opportunity that remains open is that of peace with the Palestinians," Peres says.

By
November 7, 2011 03:53
2 minute read.
President Peres and Rabbi Metzger at Tuba Zangria

Peres at Tuba Zangria 311. (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

“The shades may be drawn over most of the Middle East, but the window of opportunity that remains open is that of peace with the Palestinians,” President Shimon Peres said on Sunday to Druse leaders in the village of Julis.

Peres had traveled from Jerusalem to Julis to convey greetings to the Druse community at large on the occasion of Id al-Adha – the Festival of the Sacrifice commemorating the willingness of Abraham – or Ibrahim as he is known in the Middle East – to sacrifice his son Ishmael.

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Peres was given a warm welcome by Sheikh Muafak Tarif and other Druse dignitaries from the surrounding environs.

In return Peres voiced appreciation and admiration for the courage and dedication of Druse soldiers, whose degree of volunteerism knew no bounds, he said. He was always amazed by the depth of their commitment to the country, especially when they have so many legitimate grievances, he added.

Druse soldiers, Peres noted, are deeply entrenched in the most elite units of the Israel Defense Forces.

Peres said that he was fully aware of the shortage of housing, the lack of land and the educational needs of the Druse community and promised to work to the best of his ability to find solutions to these problems.

“Equality is a fundamental value of the State of Israel and every effort must be made to ensure its implementation,” said Peres.

Explaining his ongoing optimism with regard to the possibility of peace with the Palestinians, Peres said that the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad is second only to Israel as the most democratic entity in the Middle East. He also underscored that the two Palestinian leaders had publicly declared their opposition to violence and terror.

Ayoub Kara, a prominent member of the Druse community who currently serves as Deputy Minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee called on the government of Israel not to remain silent in the face of the slaughter of the Syrian population by President Bashar Assad and his cohorts.

Israel’s Druse population is extremely concerned about the safety of its family members who live just across the border with Syria, close to the area in which much of the killings are taking place, said Kara.


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