The international community must let the parties manage the negotiations by themselves. Terror must not be allowed to achieve any political gain.
(Communicated by Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Israel’s long-term interests will be achieved only through dialogue and a comprehensive agreement with Israel’s neighbors. Both parties understand that they are on the same side, that not everything is a zero-sum game, and they believe in the need to continue the Annapolis process on the basis of its guiding principles and with the understanding that with courage, leadership and correct management, it is possible to succeed.
I understand the skepticism, following the absence of disclosure of negotiation details and the failure so far to achieve the goals. The parties understand better than anyone the urgency of reaching an arrangement but they also know better than anyone what they can live with and what they can’t, what is appropriate, and what timing is best. The international community must show tolerance and respect and let the parties manage the negotiations by themselves.
We acknowledge the need to establish a Palestinian state on condition that it will not be a terrorist state. Implementation of the Road Map, which entails changing the situation on the ground, before implementation of the arrangement is essential. The process has already brought about an improvement in the situation in the West Bank, the beginning of significant progress. The progress in the diplomatic talks together with the determined fight against terror are what makes progress possible.
The principles that guide the negotiations are:
• Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
• What is needed is a comprehensive agreement, not a partial agreement, not a general declaration in principle.
• Our peoples don’t want vague texts/wording that will be the basis for future disputes; they want clear, concrete solutions.
• No one wants an achievement that is merely temporary and cosmetic, but rather a genuine, sustainable achievement.
• The negotiations need to be bilateral between the parties themselves – the parties are the owners of the negotiations.
• Neither party should look for excuses in the present in order to halt the talks about the future. The future cannot be a hostage of the present.
More than ten teams are working on all the subjects required to solve the conflict. Progress has been made in the negotiations, which are serious and intense – hundreds of meetings have been held to date and the parties believe that the elements, the guiding principles and mutual trust for creating a good basis for agreement do indeed exist. We have agreed on the structure of the agreement, the paragraphs are already drafted, we’re working on the maps and on developing models for cooperation.
We expect the international community to support this process and the parties and to respect the secret and bilateral nature of the talks and the parties’ commitment to a comprehensive agreement, not a partial one. Not to interfere with the bilateral negotiations with proposals of mediation and initiatives not coordinated with us.
When an agreement is reached, international support will be critical. The international community and the states in the region must create an atmosphere supportive of coexistence and regional cooperation. We favor extending political and economic aid to a Palestinian leadership that recognizes Israel and honors its agreements with us and operates against terrorism. We call on the international community to support efforts to prevent extremism and terror.
We can’t just ignore the threats and challenges of the process; we must be realistic. The Gaza Strip is controlled by a terrorist organization. The situation in the West Bank is reversible. This cannot be ignored. Extremism and terror must not be allowed to achieve any political gain. It is important that the moderates are the ones setting the agenda.
Therefore, there is a real need for regional support of the process and regional willingness to act together with the parties for the sake of the process, by:
• Support of any agreement reached
• Support of a Palestinian leadership that recognizes Israel, recognizes previous agreements with Israel and acts against terror.
• Regional cooperation that will create an atmosphere conducive to the process.
• Gradually promoting normalization with the Arab world – to strengthen the dialogue and also to convince the Israeli public that it is worth paying a price for peace that will lead to a fundamental, genuine change in the entire region.