Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri tells the Washington Post the Cairo talks should be expanded, once the matter of Gaza’s rehabilitation and ceasefire is resolved, into Israeli-Palestinian peace talks based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
He calls for Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and a number of Persian Gulf States to send representatives to Cairo for these negotiations, which would also include resolving larger regional concerns and battling radical Islam in the Middle East.
“Let’s take the Saudi initiative, and we will try to negotiate a plan to bring an end to the Israeli-Arab dispute,” he says. “Inside this framework, it will be easier to deal with [the] Palestinians on bilateral negotiations, which have failed.”
Israel has repeatedly rejected the Arab League-backed framework, which includes a full Israeli evacuation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian right of return, but Peri is fairly confident the details can be worked out — and he adds that Netanyahu is in favor of the idea.
“Israel does not need to accept the contents of the initiative in its entirety, and there are major issues which should be discussed in depth,” Perry writes. “However, the time has come for Israel to recognize the importance of this step, declare its readiness to begin a discussion on the initiative and take steps to leverage it for local and regional strategic advantages.”