Video - Israeli Ambassador: "Israel Is Not Going to Freeze Life Because the Palestinians Have Decided Not to Negotiate Peace"

(MSNBC) Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer told MSNBC on Thursday: "In the first year of the Obama administration...we had a crisis with the United States over the issue of settlements three months into the administration. At the very first meeting that the prime minister [Netanyahu] had in the Oval Office the same story was told - that the two-state solution was disappearing, that action had to be taken immediately on the settlements." "There were two views that this administration put forward from the very beginning. The first was that the root of all the problems in the Middle East was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we could just solve this problem, that was the key to stability in the Middle East. That blew up about five years ago in Tunisia [with the start of the Arab Spring]....You have Syria collapsing, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, you have chaos throughout the whole Middle East. The one place where you don't have chaos? It's Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, and guess what, we don't have peace. But that seems to be the most stable place." "The second view was that the settlements are the root of the conflict. It was not true then and it's not true now. And I think we have to start dealing with the root of the conflict, which is the persistent refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any boundaries." "Israel is going about living their lives, continuing to build in these areas that are in dispute, and may one day convince the Palestinians - you know what, you should come to the table to actually negotiate with Israel because if you don't do that Israel is just going to keep going on with their lives. They are not going to freeze life because you've decided not to negotiate peace." "In Secretary Kerry's speech yesterday...what he didn't say was that in 2000 an Israeli government made a sweeping peace offer to the Palestinians. Arafat rejected it and then he launched a terror campaign against Israel. And in 2008 another peace offer was put forward and the Palestinians also rejected that. So this is not about Israel not wanting peace. It's about the Palestinians not wanting to end the conflict." "I do not blame any secretary of state, any president, for the failure to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The reason why we do not have peace is because the Palestinians refuse to accept the existence and the right of the Jewish people to a state in our ancestral homeland. That is the problem." "The President of the United States cannot force them to do that. But what he can do is stand beside Israel, speak truth to the world about what this conflict is all about, and hopefully the Palestinians will realize that they have no chance to defeat Israel militarily or to defeat it diplomatically. Ultimately, if they can't beat 'em, they can join 'em. And together we can have a much better future for both Israelis and Palestinians. That's what we want to see."

2016-12-30 00:00:00

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