Israeli President, Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, participated in meetings regarding the possibilities of resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and the prospects of peace in the region. The meetings were held in Davos – Switzerland, as part of the World Economic Forum.Israeli sources reported that Peres said that “When taking history into consideration, twenty years of peace talks is not a long period of time,’ and called for “urging the Iranian people to topple their government” and for “reducing the Iranian influence in the Middle East.’
Peres also stated that measures taken by the European Union against Iran “are less than what is needed,’ adding that the Iranian influence in the Middle East must be ended, and claimed that “Iran transformed the Gaza strip into a missile launching base targeting Israel.’ He further stated that the Hezbollah party in Lebanon is destroying the country.
Referring to the so-called Peace Process, Peres stated that despite the fact that peace talks did not arrive at a final solution, “What is happening on the ground is pushing for the two-state solution.’
The Israeli President also said that Dr. Fayyad and Palestinian President,
Mahmoud Abbas, “Did well, and managed to prove that they can build a state while peace talks are still ongoing, and managed to build a strong, and independent, security force.’
He claimed that the government of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accepted the two-state solution, and the so-called Economic peace, and claimed that Israel “never abandoned the peace process, and accepted the two-state solution.’ He also stated that peace talks must be held away from the media.
On his part, Prime Minister Fayyad, stated that Israel and the Palestinians must “keep the hope alive,’ adding that “building the Palestinian state and conducting Peace Talks are parallel paths that are equally important.’
Fayyad also said that building a strong and viable Palestinian state should receive more attention and support, and that the situation in Gaza must change and must receive more international support.
Commenting on the statements of Fayyad, Peres said that direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians must resume, and claimed that the “Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not an international issue.’
Fayyad responded by stating that the nature of the conflict requires international support, and that the International Community must mediate in the peace process.
“We feel optimistic when we sit together and talk,’ Fayyad said, “But the time has come to officially recognize the failure of the peace process.’
Israel claims that the Palestinians are obstructing peace talks by placing what it calls “preconditions”, and places the blame of the failure of the peace process on them.
The Peace Process collapsed due to Israel’s continuous violations; mainly due to its ongoing invasions, assaults -including extra-judicial assassinations- and its illegal settlement construction and expansion activities in the occupied West Bank, including in and around illegally annexed East Jerusalem.
Israel’s policies against the Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, especially home demolitions, and illegal takeover of Palestinian lands and homes by Israeli settlers, were also among the main reasons that pushed the Palestinians to end talks with Tel Aviv.
It is worth mentioning that in the nineties, and while the peace process “was going well” in the political sense; Israel conducted one of its largest ever settlement construction and expansion activities in the occupied territories, mainly in and around occupied East Jerusalem.
The ongoing settlement activities, and the ongoing violations, mainly in Jerusalem, and the Annexation Wall (that was declared illegal by the International Court) are changing the demography and the geography of the occupied territories, and are transforming the West Bank into isolated cantons, an issue that is blocking any geographical contiguity of what would become “the Palestinian State”.
Israel never recognized international resolutions regarding its occupation of Palestine, including resolutions calling for its full withdrawal from all of the Arab and Palestinian territories, captured in 1967, and the internationally-guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees.