Rivlin, EU envoy discuss peace talks

Knesset speaker says PA must tackle the major issues in proximity talks.

rivlin 298.170 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir)
rivlin 298.170
(photo credit: Yossi Zamir)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin met Thursday with Andrew Standley, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel, to discuss the opening of proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The Palestinians think that the pressure with which Israel is faced from America makes their situation easier and absolves them from managing real negotiations, but that is a mistake,” said Rivlin during the meeting.
“In the proximity talks, the Palestinians will need to grab the bull by the horns and discuss the burning and most significant issues like the right of return, the recognition of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and Jerusalem,” he asserted. “Without that, we will not be able to know if we are moving in the direction of a peace agreement or real peace for generations.”
He added that “the delay of the debate on these subjects to the end of the discussion is equivalent to not having had a discussion at all. We can solve the conflict in a real fashion only if we conclude the debate on the deepest and most difficult topics.”
Rivlin said he believed that the two sides had no choice but to adhere to an understanding that each of the two populations was here to stay.
“Israel also understands that we have to make compromises, more than have been made so far – but within the parameters of clear red lines such as the principle that Jerusalem will not be divided,” he said. “Eighty percent of Israelis are ready for compromises at any moment, on condition that they know it is a viable agreement.”
Regarding the Iranian threat, Rivlin told Standley that “if anyone were to take the podium at the United Nations and say that England had no right to continue to exist, they would be considered insane. But when [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad stands and says similar things about Israel, one-third of those present cheer.
“I know Israel’s capabilities against Iran, but we need world support. Israel will always remember that despite all existing agreements, it must be prepared.”