Israel: Netanyahu, Liberman Committed to Revival of Arab Peace Initiative

Prime Minister Netanyahu and newly sworn-in Defense minister Avigdor Liberman have called in a joint statement for the revival of talks to end the conflict with Palestine.

Netanyahu said the 2002 Arab peace initiative unveiled by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and endorsed by the Arab League “includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians.” “We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002” while remaining faithful to the two-state solution, Netanyahu said.

Liberman, whose return to the government raised concerns because of his strong ultranationalist views, said the “Arab initiative has several very positive elements that allow for a serious dialogue with the countries of the region.” “I agree to everything, including the two-state solution,” he said.

Both Netanyahu and Liberman hailed President Sisi’s speech geared towards reviving the talks.

Under the revised Arab peace initiative, 22 Arab states will normalize ties with Tel Aviv if Judea and Samaria are handed over to Palestine with the possibility of land swaps for other territories. “I am committed to peace with our Palestinian neighbors and with all our neighbors,” Netanyahu said but Palestine said the occupation and settlement policies hinder the viability of a Palestinian State.

The addition of Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu, an extreme right wing party, to the coalition government made Netanyahu’s government the most right wing party in Israel’s history.

There are fears that the will to revive the Arab Peace initiative that has been stalled for years could be a maneuver meant to sideline the French initiative that Tel Aviv met with a cold shoulder. Israel has always maintained that negotiations with Palestine should be direct without any preconditions.


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