Rivlin calls for resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
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Rivlin calls for resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

President hails Trump plan for recognizing Israel’s ‘need to retain security responsibility’ west of the Jordan River, says ‘vision of peace… is a realistic one’

President Reuven Rivlin, right, meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the funeral for late former president Shimo Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Photo by Mark Neyman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin, right, meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the funeral for late former president Shimo Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Photo by Mark Neyman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin called Tuesday for the resumption of direction peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, following the release of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

Addressing several dozen US military officers visiting Israel as part of a mission organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, Rivlin stated that “a vision of peace with our Palestinian neighbors is a realistic one.”

“As we continue to face the threats from Iran and its proxies today, including the terrorist organizations in Gaza, we also look to the opportunities and challenges of the future,” Rivlin said, according to a statement from his office.

“The vision for peace which President Trump presented last week, recognizes Israel’s need to retain security responsibility for all areas west of the Jordan River. Israel must always be able to defend itself by itself,” he added.

While stressing Israel must “never compromise” on security, Rivlin said it must also look toward peace with the Palestinians.

“Israelis and Palestinians are not doomed to live together, it is our destiny to live together. I hope that both sides will take this opportunity to restart direct negotiations,” he said.

President Reuven Rivlin with US military officers in Jerusalem as part of a mission run by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

The Trump plan, which is widely seen by Palestinians as tilted in favor of Israel, has been rejected by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who threatened to cut of all relations with Jerusalem and Washington in response.

Despite the threat, Abbas on Monday appeared to hint that security ties with Israel and the United States were still intact. A cut in security ties could jeopardize the relative calm in the Israeli-controlled West Bank.

Israeli-Palestinian security coordination ranges from information-sharing about terrorist cells in the West Bank to coordination between police forces. Palestinian forces have also received training from the United States and other Western countries.

Breaking with past US administrations, Trump’s plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in about 70 percent of the West Bank, a small handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, most of the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, and fulfill other conditions.

The plan also envisions Israel annexing settlements, grants the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and overriding security control west of the Jordan River, and bars Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies have called to going forward with annexing areas of the West Bank, but the Trump administration has cautioned against advancing such a move in the near future.

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