PM Netanyahu talks with President Abbas during a family photo for the opening day of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked heads of diplomatic missions and religious communities on Thursday to encourage Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept his offer to talk peace.
Netanyahu, who is also the foreign minister, said he is willing to sit down with Abbas in Jerusalem, Ramallah or anywhere else he might care to meet.
“You cannot make peace with anyone who refuses to sit down with you,” he said, adding that Israelis and Palestinians deserve enduring peace.
Speaking at the annual reception for diplomats, military attachés, honorary consuls and heads of religious communities that is traditionally held at the President’s Residence on Independence Day, Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, providing that a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People.
“It’s about time,” he declared.
Vowing that Israel will never give up on peace, Netanyahu said previously hostile states in the region are now forming deep partnerships with Israel, a development that gives hope to the possibility of a solution to the conflict.
He believed the conflict might be resolved with the help of Arab states that now see Israel as an ally in the fight against terrorist forces threatening the entire region.
Netanyahu said he is especially fond of the diplomatic community, because 34 years ago he began his public life as the deputy chief of mission at the Israel Embassy in Washington. At that time, he said, Israel had diplomatic relations with very few countries, but now, despite the consistent attempts to delegitimize Israel, the country enjoys full diplomatic relations with 159 countries.
Hardly a day goes by, he said, that there isn’t a foreign diplomatic, trade, technical or security delegation coming to Israel, because it is the country of innovation and has significantly contributed toward combating terrorism and strengthening common security.