Thu, Oct 28, 2010 | Ynet.news
Settlements Are Not An Obstacle To Peace
On a short visit to France, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin told his counterpart, President of the French Senate, Gérard Larcher, that the settlements are not an obstacle to peace and that the settlement construction is just “an excuse for the Palestinians to pull out of the peace talks.” Larcher expressed his concern about Israel’s ending of the settlement moratorium in Judea and Samaria.
Knesset Speaker Rivlin and his deputy, MK Majalli Whbee (Kadima) had breakfast with Gérard Larcher in the French Senate, on their way to the Mediterranean Conference in Morocco. President Shimon Peres canceled his participation to the conference due to the collapsing peace talks. Rivlin invited Larcher to visit Israel and “and take a look at how our democracy operates”.
“Hundreds of thousands of Israeli people live in the settlements, and they are not an obstacle to peace. You can’t ignore the fact that Bush’s letter recognizes many of them. It’s just an excuse for Palestinians at the negotiating table.”
“The feeling is that Abbas is getting into the talks out of a sense of obligation and cannot convince his people to make compromises. Peace requires mutual interest. The people of Israel want peace and not illusions. We must make an effort to live together instead of dividing the land.”
Rivlin also addressed the issue of the right of return. “The Israelis absorbed four million Jewish refugees from Europe and the Arab states while they have been perpetuating their refugee problem for close to five generations, demanding that refugees be returned in a manner that would destroy Israel. Abbas is not persuading his people to compromise on this.”
Rivlin also said that Israel appreciated France’s efforts in helping to facilitate talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority, but added that Europe’s support for the Palestinians makes the Palestinians think they do not have to make an effort because Europe is behind them.