Israel: Arab World, Gateway to Lasting Peace Agreement with Palestine, Netanyahu

Israel: Arab World, Gateway to Lasting Peace Agreement with Palestine, Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said reaching a peace deal with Palestine will first require the Arab World warming its ties with Israel at a time Arab countries insist that normalizing their relations with Tel Aviv would only take place when a solution is reached to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu was speaking at the event marking the 24th anniversary of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s death; still remembered for signing the peace agreement with Egypt in 1979. He said the historic peace agreement has defied “the test of time” and challenging moments.

The Israeli Prime Minister said “if someone thought earlier that a breakthrough with the Palestinians would lead to improved relations with the Arab world for us, the opposite is happening and will continue to happen.” He said “the Arab World softening its views” towards Israel will help Tel Aviv “when the time comes to reach a real and lasting agreement with our Palestinian neighbors.” Netanyahu said countries increasingly understand that Israel is not an “enemy” to Arab countries but a “partner” in fighting extremism.

His statement could raise eyebrows over France’s initiative to revive peace talks. French envoy Pierre Vimont met with Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold and Netanyahu’s special diplomatic envoy Isaac Molho to discuss the initiative on Monday.

After the meeting, the Israeli foreign ministry stated it “emphasized the importance of direct, bilateral negotiations” without preconditions and also questioned the “logic” of the French initiative that Israel is struggling to understand.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also reminded the Palestinian Authority of its “responsibility to combat terror and incitement” in the areas under its control.

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