FM Ashkenazi asks Swiss to urge Palestinians to negotiate with Israel

The PA has been insisting that it would only engage in a process that leads to a two-state solution.

Israel's new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Israel's new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi asked his Swiss counterpart, Ignazio Cassis, to urge the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table, when the two ministers met in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon.
“The decision of the Palestinian Authority to renew security and civil coordination with Israel is a step in the right direction,” Ashkenazi said. “But the more important step is to return soon to direct negotiations with Israel, without preconditions.”
After leaving Jerusalem, Cassis is expected to head to Ramallah to speak with PA officials. On Friday he is slated to visit the United Arab Emirates, which signed a peace deal with Israel in Washington in September, under the rubric of the Abraham Accords.
The PA has condemned the normalization deal and has not been swayed by that deal or the Israel-Bahrain one signed at the same time, to negotiate a peace deal with Israel.
Ashkenazi has asked visiting dignitaries traveling between Jerusalem and Ramallah to urge the PA to resume direct talks with Israel, frozen since 2014.
“I would like to ask you my friend, during your visit to Ramallah today, to use your leverage and arguments to try to persuade our neighbor to return to a direct negotiation. We believe that this is the only way to solve the conflict,” Ashkenazi said.
“The Palestinian leadership must choose between the path of peace and the path of conflict,” he said.
The PA has insisted it would only engage in a process that leads to a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines. Israel has spoken of a two-state resolution to the conflict but has rejected all calls for a final border based on the pre-1967 lines.
Most members of the International community, including Switzerland, have sided with the Palestinians with regard to the pre-1967 lines, but have still argued that it must negotiate with Israel.
Cassis said he congratulated Ashkenzi on the normalization of Israel’s relations with the UAE and Bahrain, as well as the pending normalization deal between Israel and Sudan.
“This will contribute to reduce regional tensions and I encourage all the parties to work harder for a lasting peace in the region. I will convey the same message in the UAE tomorrow.
“I also expressed my relief that the annexation project has been suspended, and Switzerland’s expectation that the suspension will be permanent,” he said.
He called on the Palestinians to “give diplomacy a chance. Switzerland remains committed to a two-state solution.
“Switzerland is ready to facilitate the resumption of dialogue and to offer its good offices” in pursuing it, he said.
On other topics, Ashkenazi called on Switzerland to recognize both the military and political wing of Hezbollah as a terror organization.
He also asked Switzerland to join the “more than 30 countries” that have adopted the definition of antisemitism set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.