How can Israeli-Palestinian peace be achieved?
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"Peace is not compatible with violence"
Israel has always been willing to compromise and all Israeli governments have been willing to make major sacrifices for
the sake of peace. However, peacemaking requires concessions as well as confidence-building measures on both sides. Just
Israel is willing to address the rights and interests of the Palestinians,
Israel has legitimate rights and interests
that need to be addressed. Peace can only be achieved through negotiations to bridge gaps and resolve all outstanding
Israel believes that it can make peace with a moderate Palestinian leadership that rejects terrorism. When in the past, Israel met Arab leaders, like President Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, who spoke the language of peace and were willing to take concrete steps for coexistence, Israel reached agreements with them and peace was achieved. Israel is willing to stand in peace with all the moderate states of the region.
For negotiations to be possible and for them to have a chance to succeed, Palestinian terrorism and incitement, supported by countries such as Iran and Syria, must be brought to an end. Extremist Palestinian elements, such as Hamas, are unwilling to recognize Israel's very right to exist, and continue to violently act against Israel, against the moderate Palestinian leadership and against the peace process. As such, they have no place at the negotiating table.
Dismantling the terrorist infrastructure is not only the first step in the Roadmap, it is also at the foundation of
any peace process. Peacemaking requires the creation of a positive atmosphere, one that is free of terrorism and
incitement, and one that promotes efforts to achieve mutual understanding. Israel has on many occasions taken steps to
help improve Palestinian living conditions and the rehabilitation of the Palestinian economy. Israel has made - and is
willing to make in the future - goodwill gestures towards the moderate Palestinian camp - such as easing movement by
removing road barriers, transferring tax revenues and releasing prisoners. Israel is ready to take many such steps
provided that Israeli security is not harmed and that the Palestinians do not respond with terrorism.
Attempts by the Palestinians and the Arab countries to compel Israel to accept unreasonable Palestinian demands will
not bring the parties any closer to peace. It is very important that the Arab states do not support hard-line
Palestinian positions, making it ever more difficult for the Palestinians themselves to make the necessary compromises.
Positive steps taken by the Arab countries would help generate a constructive atmosphere, as would re-energizing the multilateral contacts which seek to promote regional cooperation. Forward movement and cooperation on issues that affect the lives of all who live in the region would contribute psychologically to tackling the difficult political issues that need to be addressed and resolved.
UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which all parties in the region have accepted, provide an important
outline for conducting negotiations on a permanent settlement. Israel has also supported implementation of the measures
of the Roadmap. But the Roadmap will work only if the Palestinians fulfill their obligations, something they have not
truly begun to do, especially when it comes to dismantling the terrorist infrastructure and ending incitement, as
required in the first phase of the Roadmap.
Finally, peace must mean the resolution of all claims and the end of the conflict. Once a peace agreement is reached, a new leaf must be turned and the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel's relationship with all its neighbors must be put on a new footing, one characterized by dialogue and cooperation, rather than by antagonism and confrontation.
These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.
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