Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin told members of the European Union Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday that the Oslo Accords proved that forcing an agreement on Israel and the Palestinian Authority is an illusion that won’t work.
“There will not be peace if there is no security for Israel. Oslo proved it,” he said in his speech.
The EU Parliament has expressed support for the bid by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to ask the United Nations to recognize the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a state based on its own territorial demands, which would return Israel to the temporary Armistice Lines that existed from 1949 until the Six-Day War in 1967.
“Israel is not being stubborn but is being careful,” Rivlin explained. “Oslo proved that peace agreements are a mirage and create crises that are difficult to solve. No one can impose a solution by force. We live here [in Israel]. Whoever does not understand the Arab-Israeli struggle cannot help solve it.”
He noted in his tough speech that Israel cannot surrender its demand that Abbas recognize it as a”Jewish state.” Referring to the Holocaust, he told the EU legislators, “Europe knows very well why it is important that Israel remain a democratic Jewish state. Jews were in many European countries but it did not help them at the time of need.”
He said that Europe seem to be more involved in establishing a PA state than in supporting the existence of a Jewish state. “Europe is mistaken in its assumption that the continued existence of a Jewish state is assured.”
Rivlin, one of the most veteran of Knesset Members, also stated that Abbas’ attempts to bring in more mediators from around the world won’t work.
“It always comes down to two sides – the Palestinian Authority and Israel,” he said. “No mediator can replace direct talks.”
Rejecting the claim the Israel’s recognition of the Palestinian Authority would isolate Hamas, the Speaker declared, “We already thought more than once of diplomatic moves – Oslo and the ‘Disengagement’ [from Gaza] – but we were wrong and paid a have price in terms of lives.”
Monday night, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and Rivlin attended the inauguration of an exhibit at the European Parliament in Brussels, showcasing illustrations based on kidnapped Gilad Shalit’s book "When the Shark and the Fish First Met,” which he wrote when he was 11 years old.
“This detention of five years is unjustified,” Buzek said. “Let me assure you, our friends from Israel, and the relatives of Gilad Shalit, that we feel like he is our son, our grandson, we feel like he is a member of our European family."