No preconditions for Palestine talks: Israeli FM
Israel has agreed to halt annexations in the West Bank in Palestine.
When it comes to its conflict with Palestine, Israel has “moved from annexation to normalisation”, foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi has said, stressing that “annexation is off the table”.
As it normalised relations with the UAE and Bahrain by signing the US-brokered peace deal on September 15, Israel has agreed to halt annexations in the West Bank in Palestine.
“I have said...again and again in almost every international arena...that three months ago, Israel has moved from annexation to normalisation. And politically, I believe in it. I think it is the right direction. We have to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that we will separate from the Palestine,” Ashkenazi, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
The minister said that stand has facilitated the normalisation of relations with GCC countries.
“We are ready to enter the room right now with them for negotiations without any pre-condition. We keep saying it and, unfortunately, they refuse it. I don’t understand how they are refusing something that serves their interest.”
He said Israel is open to both direct negotiations, as well as one with an intermediary. “Maybe we need an honest broker, maybe someone to facilitate it but at the end of the day, it is about direct negotiation with both sides.”
Admitting that peace with Palestine is complicated, the minister reiterated that it is doable. “And that is something that we don’t want to leave to our children. We want to solve it during our watch. That is why I am here.”
Ashkenazi said the signing of the Abraham Accords with the UAE and Bahrain — and with more countries expected to follow suit — might “facilitate the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
“I keep saying that what we are doing with the GCC and other countries in the region is not at the expense of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We have to solve this conflict. I think what happened with the GCC may even help this opportunity to happen.”
According to him, the decades-old Israeli-Arab conflict is already “fading away” after the Abraham Accords. “We Israelis had two circles of conflict traditionally — the large one, the biggest one that is the Israeli-Arab conflict. And the second, we still have unfortunately, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Literally, with this Abraham Accords, the Israeli-Arab conflict is fading away.”
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