Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein addressed the UN Monday, calling for parliament-to-parliament dialogue between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries.
As Edelstein approached the podium to begin his speech, Ali Larijani, the Iranian Parliament speaker, promptly rose from his seat, gathered his belongings, and left the room.
“Come to Jerusalem. Come to the Knesset. Meet with me. Sit with me. Talk with me,” in a speech The Jerusalem Post obtained in advance on Sunday. “Let’s talk water. Let’s talk clean air. Let’s talk prosperity. Let’s talk partnerships. And peace? And borders? These talks, I assure you, will follow.”
Edelstein spoke at the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, which was hosted by the UN, and focused mostly on the environment.
The Speaker said that sustainable development goals can be achieved by working across borders, even with states that do not have diplomatic relations, and called for the IPU to facilitate such talks.
Edelstein expressed pride in the Green Knesset initiative, which puts sustainable development goals into practice by recycling water and paper and cutting down electricity use through solar power and other advanced technologies, and encouraged other parliaments to follow suit.
Also Monday, MKs Michael Oren (Kulanu) and Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) headed to a meeting Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Paris, where they will represent the Knesset.
PACE is expected to discuss fighting anti-Semitism in Europe, the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this year, the impact of violence in the Middle East on Europe’s security and other issues.
“In the last year we dealt with several parliaments that recognized a Palestinian state,” Oren, the head of the delegation, recounted. “That recognition severely lowered the chances that negotiations between us and the Palestinian Authority will be renewed.”
Oren, a former ambassador to the US, said he plans to represent the Israeli stance that the Palestinians should not be given statehood outside of direct negotiations for a final agreement.
“The principle of a state in exchange for peace should not be replaced with a state without peace,” he stated.