Israeli opposition head supports ‘Arab Peace Initiative’

Israel’s Opposition leader suggested that Israel “knock at the door and enter into the region” with other countries in the Middle East. 

Israeli Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Zionist Union, called on Israel to reconsider the Arab Peace Initiative, while speaking at the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington.

“Tomorrow we will mark 15 years since the launching of the Arab Peace Initiative,” Herzog noted. “I believe Israel should respond to that initiative, and I believe we should identify the peace opportunity and make another effort.”

The proposal, presented by Saudi Arabia in 2002 on behalf of the Arab League, offered Israel full diplomatic relations with the Arab world in return for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries.

Herzog also pushed for Israel to continue its efforts in advancing and expanding ties with other Arab countries in the Middle East that do not have official diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

“We can just knock at the door and enter into the region and be finally welcomed into the region,” Herzog said. “We have to talk to the nations nearby.”

Herzog also expressed appreciation for the efforts on the part of the Trump administration to secure a lasting peace in the region.

“After meeting with Jason Greenblatt (Trump’s Israel adviser), I’m impressed that President Trump is heavily committed toward reaching peace between Israel and the Arabs,” he added.

Greenblatt visited Israel a couple of weeks ago in large part to discuss the prospects of a regional peace.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was expanding ties with many Arab countries in light of commonly held interests in containing security threats from Iran and its proxy actors in the region.

“I believe in nurturing these interests,” he stated. “In my opinion, if we act wisely, it could assist us in normalizing ties with countries in the region and opening new diplomatic streams that could be more efficient between us and the Palestinians.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News