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March 18, 2014 12:39 pm

Israel’s Peres Says Thankful for U.S. Alliance; ‘We Are Not an Isolated Nation, We Never Were’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Israeli President Shimon Peres. Photo: WikiCommons

Israeli President Shimon Peres. Photo: WikiCommons

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday spoke favorably about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s attempts to keep the Palestinian Authority at the negotiating table, and thanked the U.S. for supporting Israel diplomatically and militarily.

“I am pleased to see the government doing all it can to continue the negotiations so as the process does not collapse,” Peres said at the Negev Conference, in Sederot.

“I am also pleased that the U.S. is supporting us in these talks. We are fortunate to have the alliance with the U.S. – we should not be embarrassed to say thank you to the U.S. for the diplomatic and security support it has and continues to offer us,” Peres said. “We are not an isolated nation, we never were. We are a nation that seeks peace.”

He was equally blunt about the status of the talks with the PA: “The Palestinians are not satisfied with us, and we are not satisfied with them, but neither of us are satisfied with terror and war.”

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“We should do all we can to be strong in security and advanced in science, I believe it is our interest to achieve full peace with the Palestinians and not to hesitate,” Peres said. “We must base that peace upon two pillars – diplomacy and security.”

Turning to Israel’s neighbor to the South, Egypt, Peres said, “Israel has a major interest in seeing Egypt overcome her present difficulties.”

“Both Israel and Egypt will struggle to guarantee peace and security, on both sides of the fence, without ongoing cooperation,” he said. “There are a number of difficulties on this front, first and foremost Gaza and Sinai which have become focal points of terror. We cannot allow the Negev to become an arena for smugglers and terrorists, and so we have an interest in seeing Egypt strong and whole, and to continue to cooperate both in terms of security and diplomacy.”

He also addressed the situation with Israel’s neighbor to the East, Jordan, where the death of a prominent Jordanian judge at the Allenby Bridge border crossing inflamed antagonism between the two countries.

“We still do not know for certain what happened, the incident is being investigated,” Peres said. “Jordan is a pragmatic partner and a country that invests heavily in education, the benefits of which can be seen. King Abdullah has major achievements in this field.”

Earlier, Netanyahu spoke at the conference, highlighting the achievements of his coalition government’s first year in office.

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