Statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, today (Sunday, 10 July 2016), at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, issued the following statements:
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Our two nations have been at peace since we concluded our historic peace treaty 37 years ago and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan are the cornerstone of stability in the region, and are critical assets for our countries. They are also the cornerstones of a broader regional peace and a broader stability that we hope to achieve. To this end I welcome President el-Sisi’s recent offer of Egyptian leadership in efforts to advance peace with the Palestinians and a broader peace in our region.
Today I call again on the Palestinians to follow the greatest example of Egypt and Jorden and join us for direct negotiations. This is the only way we can address all the outstanding problems between us, and turn the vision of peace based on two states for two peoples into a reality.
Foreign Minister, I want to welcome you warmly to Jerusalem, and I look forward to our discussions. Welcome."
Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry:
"My visit to Israel today comes at a crucial and challenging juncture for the Middle East. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has raged on for more than half a century, claiming thousands of victims and crushing the hopes and aspirations of millions of Palestinians to establish their independent state based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the aspirations of millions of Israelis to live in peace, security and stability.
The situation of the Middle East is becoming ever more volatile and dangerous, particularly as the phenomena of terrorism continues to grow and proliferate, representing an existential threat to the peoples of the region and the world at large. No person, group or people are exempt; none are immune from this threat. Armed conflicts and disputes have also spread throughout the region, resulting in alarming humanitarian suffering and threatens the stability of the Middle East.
My visit to Israel today is a continuation of Egypt’s longstanding sense of responsibility towards peace for itself and all the peoples of the region, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli peoples who have suffered for many decades due to the perpetuation of the conflict between them.
This visit comes in the context of President el-Sisi’s vision, which he elaborated on the 17th of May, for the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people, bringing this long conflict to an end. Such a monumental achievement will have a far reaching and dramatic and positive impact on the overall conditions in the Middle East region.
Egypt remains ready to contribute towards achieving this goal. We greatly value the trust of both sides and the international community in our commitment to peace, stability and justice.
In this vein, I made an important visit to Ramallah on the 29th of June, during which I met with the Palestinian leadership and held extensive talks. Today I am in Israel to continue the same dialogue, so that together we may find our path forward towards understanding and undertaking serious steps to uphold international legitimacy, as well as respect the treaties and agreements previously reached by the two parties to the conflict, in order to realize the two-state solution.
The goal that we aim to achieve through negotiations between the two parties is one that is based on justice, legitimate rights and mutual willingness to coexist peacefully in two neighboring independent states in peace and security.
Mr. Prime Minister, ever since the cessation of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in April 2014, the situation on the ground has been in constant deterioration, be it on the humanitarian, economic or security level. The plight of the Palestinian people becomes more arduous every day, and the dream of peace and security moves further out of the Israeli people’s reach as long as the conflict continues.
It is no longer acceptable to claim that the status quo is the most that we can achieve of the hopes and the aspirations of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
The current state of affairs unfortunately is neither stable nor sustainable. It does not conform with the hopes of both peoples, nor with those of the peoples of the region and the world.
The vision of the two state solution is not farfetched. A multitude of ideas and initiative have been proposed to make it a practical reality – particularly the Arab peace initiative. However, achieving this vision requires serious steps to build confidence as well as a genuine will that does not waver of wane under any circumstance.
I would like to assure that Egypt’s commitment to supporting a just, comprehensive and sustainable resolution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to supporting peace and security in the Middle East is a steadfast and unwavering commitment, and that the Egyptian leadership is serious in its determination to provide all possible forms of support in order to achieve this noble goal. I look forward to addressing the prospects of peace in depth during my discussions with you, Mr. Prime Minister, as well as a number of political issues pertaining to bilateral relations.
I am confident that this will be a fruitful discussion of mutual benefit. I thank you."
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Before we go upstairs, I want to thank my trusted special adviser and personal envoy Yitzhak Molcho for all that he does to strengthen Israeli-Egyptian relations, and for his work in preparing today’s important meeting. Thank you Itzik. I think he’s still moving from the airport, but he’ll get here. Thank you all."
Attached photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)