In a press conference held ahead of the Paris Peace Conference this upcoming Sunday, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely proclaimed that “peace will be achieved by the sides only through direct negotiations and not external coercion.”

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely Photo Credit: Hotovely’s Office

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely held a press conference for the foreign press last night that was recorded by Media Central ahead of the Paris Peace Conference this upcoming Sunday, where she stressed that it is not the way to reach peace agreements. According to her, the Paris Peace Conference is “like a wedding with neither bride nor groom and that peace will be achieved by the sides only through direct talks and not external coercion. Israel has a proven record of reaching peace agreements using only one formula: direct negotiations. Israel achieved peace with Egypt and Jordan through direct talks.”

“Trying to avoid that is creating a very harmful illusion on the Palestinian side,” she emphasized. “Unfortunately, the only country that the pressure is on is Israel. The only country that says time after time, ‘We call Abu Mazen to sit and negotiate’ is Israel. And Abu Mazen doesn’t come because he wants the dynamics of the internationalization of the conflict. That is the reason that Israel says that the Paris conference will distance peace. It won’t do anything in order to reach true and real peace in the region.”

Israeli Deputy Minister Hotovely noted that “Palestinian culture is based on hatred and we see this in the schoolbooks of the young generation. If the international community wants to advance peace, it must first and foremost send a clear message that the education towards hatred and terror is the real obstacle to peace, not the settlements.”

In regard to the settlements, Israeli Deputy Minister Hotovely said that “Jewish inhabitance of Judea and Samaria has deep and ancient roots. None of the agreements stipulated that Israel must stop building there. The focus on the settlements is morally wrong. Israel builds out of a veneration of the value of life and creation. The Palestinians, by contrast, venerate death and destruction.”

Israeli Deputy Minister Hotovely also related to the matter of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, noting that “Israel sees it as a natural step to move the embassy to its capital city and welcomes all countries to act in a similar fashion.”

The Paris Peace Conference is part of France’s initiative to relaunch peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The conference will include 72 countries including the United States but neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority will be present. According to Haaretz, the conference is expected to call upon both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to recommit to the two-state solution.

The Paris Peace Conference will also ask both Abu Mazen and Netanyahu to distance themselves from public officials serving in their governments who oppose the two-state solution. They claim that Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett who has called to remove the two-state solution from Israel’s agenda and senior level PA officials who incite violence against Israel should not be serving together with Netanyahu and Abu Mazen respectively. Arutz Sheva reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French President Francois Hollande that even though he is not willing to meet with Abu Mazen as part of this conference, he is willing to sit down with Abu Mazen and to engage in “direct negotiations without preconditions” if France cancels the summit.