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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Liberman quick to proclaim: I support the 'two-state solution'

Liberman sworn in as Defense Minister
Liberman sworn in as Defense Minister
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90


Newly sworn in Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was quick to announce on Monday evening that he supports the “two-state solution” to solve the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict.

In a joint statement, Liberman and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed support for the recent call by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for the sides to reach a peace agreement.

“I am committed to peace with our Palestinian neighbors and with all our neighbors,” the Prime Minister said in the statement. “The Arab peace initiative includes essential elements that can help restore constructive negotiations with the Palestinians. We are ready to negotiate with the Arab countries on updating the initiative, to reflect the dramatic changes since 2002, and to maintain the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”

“We welcome the recent speech of al-Sisi and his willingness to promote peace in the region,” added Netanyahu.

Incoming Defense Minister Liberman said in the statement, “I agree to everything, including the two-state solution. I often spoke about recognition of the solution of two states for two peoples. I certainly agree that the Arab initiative has several very positive elements that allow for a serious dialogue with the countries of the region.”

According to Liberman, “I supported the Bar-Ilan speech. Al-Sisi’s speech was very important and has created a real opportunity and we must try to rise to the challenge.”

The Saudi peace initiative, unveiled in 2002 and re-endorsed at the 2007 Arab League summit, says that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

But Israel has rejected the plan due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.

Recent reports, however, have indicated that Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt, are prepared to discuss with Israel changes to the Saudi peace initiative in order to resume peace talks between Israel and the PA.