Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Saturday, 20 July 2013), released the following statement in the wake of US Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement on the resumption of the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians
"I view the resumption of the diplomatic process at this time as a vital strategic interest of the State of Israel. It is important in and of itself in order to try and bring about the conclusion of the conflict between us and the Palestinians, and it is important in light of the strategic challenges that are before us, mainly from Iran and Syria.
With the resumption of the diplomatic process, we are faced with two main goals: Preventing the creation of a bi-national state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River that would endanger the future of the Jewish state and preventing the establishment of an additional Iranian-sponsored terrorist state on Israel's borders, which would endanger us no less.
I would like to thank US Secretary of State John Kerry for putting in the great efforts that have led to the resumption of the process. I expect that the talks will be conducted in a serious and responsible manner.
As Prime Minister of Israel, I am committed, first and foremost, to the security of the citizens of Israel and I will strongly uphold the security demands of the State of Israel, as well as its vital interests."President Peres spoke with Secretary of State John Kerry
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
Following on the announcement regarding the re-starting of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, President Shimon Peres and Secretary of State Kerry spoke and discussed the latest developments. President Peres congratulated Secretary Kerry on the breakthrough and said, "I want to congratulate you for a fantastic job. No issue was too small for you."
President Peres stressed that Israel will continue to support the peace process despite the difficulties and said, "I believe there is a chance now and we will continue to do all we can to support. I think it's an opening, it wasn't simple and we have to continue the momentum."
Secretary Kerry thanked President Peres for his support with restarting the talks and said that he hoped the two sides would continue because there is now a real chance for peace. President Shimon Peres also spoke on Sunday morning (21 July 2013) with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and congratulated him on his decision to return to the negotiating table.
President Peres said, "There is no alternative to peace, not for us and not for you. You took a brave and historic decision to return to negotiations - don't listen to the skeptics, you did the right thing. Prime Minister Netanyahu also made a brave decision and he understands it is a historic call. We will do all we can to solve the conflict and to live together in peace. We want to see both nations going down the right path."
President Peres stressed that Hamas brings only destruction to its people and said, "Hamas has to understand that terror will not provide food for its people, only the path of peace can do that."
Palestinian Authority President Abbas thanked President Peres for his words and said he hopes that they will continue and conclude the peace process which was started many years ago. He expressed his hope that progress will be made and that there will be an independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside the State of Israel.