Peres: "The government of Israel is prepared for a solution of two states for two peoples, with the establishment of a Palestinian states alongside Israel. We want to live in peace and mutual respect with our Palestinian neighbors. We seek peace and condemn the path of terror led by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who wants to impose Iranian hegemony in the Middle East with bombs and threats."
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Shimon Peres met on Sunday, November 22, 2009 in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They discussed ways to break the political deadlock and to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, and agreed that Egypt should increase its involvement in renewing the negotiations quickly. They also discussed bilateral issues, including ways to prevent arms smuggling from Sinai into the Gaza Strip and the strengthening of cooperation between the two states in the areas of security and intelligence.
Following their meeting, Presidents Peres and Mubarak held a press conference. President Mubarak said: "I expressed my concern to President Peres that peace talks have not progressed, and we must not miss the opportunity for peace. We want to see a halt to settlement in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and the continuation of negotiations on the basis of the 1967 lines and international agreements. I renew my call for a just, permanent agreement within a fixed time framework, an end to the siege of Gaza, and an increase of improvements for the Palestinian people. Israel must make courageous decisions to complete the process."
President Peres praised the Egyptian President for his responsibility in keeping the peace and respecting agreements for 25 years, and said, "I came to find ways and opportunities to advance the peace process. The government of Israel is prepared for a solution of two states for two peoples, with the establishment of a Palestinian states alongside Israel. We want to live in peace and mutual respect with our Palestinian neighbors. We seek peace and condemn the path of terror led by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who wants to impose Iranian hegemony in the Middle East with bombs and threats. We will not allow the Middle East to be torn to shreds by Iranian terror and enriched uranium."
In response to a question on a settlement freeze, President Peres said that Israel is not expanding settlements, is not confiscating land and is not investing in infrastructure. With the entry into serious, sincere negotaitons, all issues will be discussed and resolved. There is no other way of resolving the differences between the two sides than serious negotiations which will in the end determine the permanent borders and the framework of the Palestinian state that will be established.
President Mubarak emphasized that the future of Jerusalem, which both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital, was an issue of concern for the entire Islamic world. Peres, in reply, said that Jerusalem was under Israeli sovereignty, and any change to that status would require Knesset approval. However, he added, "I want to send a clear message to the Arab world: we have no intention of building on the Temple Mount. We respect the Muslims, and I am sorry for the frequent rumors and lies. We should not create fabricated crises."