Addressing dozens of foreign ambassadors who attended a conference at the Knesset on Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the parliament building, Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said: ”You know the truth about Israel; tell others about the beautiful and good things that go on here; about the innovative, democratic Israel.”
Addressing the Israeli-Arab conflict, Speaker Edelstein said ”it is not enough that two leaders shake hands and sign a document; peace is built from the ground up, only through regional cooperation on issues that all sides have an interest in advancing, such as water and agriculture.” In this way, he told the envoys, ”We will be able to build the foundations upon which we can begin to build a peace process.”
Henri Etoundi Essomba, ambassador of Cameroon and dean of the Diplomatic Corps, told the conference that the Knesset has ”remained the main source of legitimacy of the government`s actions” and mentioned the ”maturation” process the Knesset and Israel in general have gone through over the past five decades.
Essomba also spoke about the Knesset`s importance in promoting diplomatic processes and mentioned its support of the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. ”We believe the Knesset will continue to play a major role in renewing the peace process with the Palestinians,” said the ambassador.
As part of the conference, a panel discussion on ”the work of the Knesset and how it influences society” was held with the participation of MKs Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp), Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Roy Folkman (Kulanu).
MKs Avi Dichter (Likud) and Erel Margalit (Zionist Camp) took part in another panel discussion, on the situation in the Middle East. The region ”is in a state of chaos,” Dichter said. ”An earthquake has taken place here over the past few years. Luckily for us, the State of Israel has no part in it, but we are definitely affected by it. There is no doubt that intelligence agencies around the world failed in their forecasts.”
Margalit said: ”This is not a war of Arabs against Jews, but of extremist organizations that threaten the entire free world. There are other things in the Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the only thing that is important. We are forced to deal with issues related to water, climate, energy and technology. The time has come for creative economic initiatives between the region`s countries.”