“Let us not delude ourselves about the chances of signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians in the near future,” Edelstein told a gathering of foreign diplomats.
By: United with Israel Staff
Some 80 foreign ambassadors to Israel visited the Knesset on Tuesday for an open meeting with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Member of Knesset (MK) Avi Dichter, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Addressing the foreign envoys, Edelstein said there was still room to improve Israel’s relations with the rest of the world’s nations. He also lauded the “the important step … taken recently, when President [Donald] Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem.”
Turning to US Ambassador David Friedman, Edelstein said he looks forward “to having our offices closer together, soon, in Jerusalem.”
Edelstein also spoke about how emotionally difficult it was to represent the state at the funeral of terror victim Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, who was stabbed to death while waiting for a ride near the city of Ariel in Samaria on Monday.
“Let us not delude ourselves about the chances of signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians in the near future. But this does not mean that we have to shoot each other in the meantime; we can coexist and cooperate,” he said.
”I’m convinced that the countries of the world and their parliaments can help [advance] trust-building measures, such as helping Israel and its neighbors in agriculture, in finding solutions for the water shortage, and in developing technology. Why should we not advance this right now?” he offered.
Addressing the Iranian threat, Edelstein said that “Israel has identified Iran’s fingerprints on every attack against an Israeli target over the past few years, without exception.”
Iran, he added, is continuing with its efforts to assemble forces along Israel’s border with Syria, while restating its desire to destroy the “Zionist entity” and promoting Holocaust denial.
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Herzog noted that Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told him that each week no less than 250,000 friend requests are sent between Israelis and Palestinians.
”Perhaps the younger generation will be able to provide us with out-of-the-box ideas in order to achieve progress in resolving the conflict,” he told the foreign envoys.
Herzog also expressed his disappoint with the international community’s lack of involvement in Syria.
”This is a collapse of global deterrence,” he argued. ”I thought the modern world would not be able to stand idly by as a genocide takes place.”
His remarks come just days after another report emerged on Bashar al-Assad’s forces using chemical weapons against civilian targets in the country.
Dichter, a former Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) told the guests that “over the past few years there has been movement among the region’s countries towards Israel.” Most of the interactions, he added, take place “under the table.”
Dichter also underscored that if the murderer of Rabbi Ben-Gal is caught, he is expected to receive a monthly salary of NIS 12,500 (about $4,000) from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
”This is even worse than it sounds. Those who we call terrorists, they call heroes,” he said.
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