Israeli President, Shimon Peres, called on the Palestinian leaders in the West Bank to resume direct peace talks with Israel in order to resolve all issues that are hindering the “peace process”.The Israeli Radio reported that the statements of Peres came during the memorial ceremony of former Israeli Prime Minister ‘Yitzhak Rabin’, who was assassinated November 4, 1995, by an extremist Israeli identified as Yigal Amir.
Peres said that “Peace cannot be achieved at the United Nations”, adding that “The UN cannot bring independence to the Palestinians and security to Israel”.
He was referring to the September Palestinian application at the UN demanding statehood recognition.
He further stated that “Rabin believed in the two-state solution”, and that peace process “enjoys the support of the majority of Palestinians and Israelis”.
Commenting on the statements of Peres, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, stated that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the one who halted the peace process, not the Palestinian leadership.
“Peres should have addressed Netanyahu in his statements, he should have called on him to stop all settlement activities, all violations and invasions, and to be committed to peace”, Erekat added.
Talking to Maan News Agency, Erekat stated that “they key to starting peace talks is very clear, it is based on Israel stopping all settlement activates, and to be committed to the two-state solution”.
Israel recently announced plans to construct hundreds of units for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, and in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu and his coalition partners insist on what they call “Israel’s right” to build and expand settlements, and continue to ignore the International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention that classify settlements as illegal, as they state that “an an occupying power cannot move all or part of its population into areas it occupies”.
There are more than 500,000 Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem.