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ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CEASE-FIRE?

FM Shalom:‘No Cease- Fire Negotiations Underway, But If Palestinians Halt The Terrorism, So Will Israel’ ‘Talk Of An International Convention Is Premature, It Is Not On The Agenda’

F.M. Shalom

Is an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire about to be announced? An Egyptian news agency triggered news headlines by reporting that a truce is being finalized. However, both Israel and the Palestinians have denied the report and the Egyptian charge d’affaires in Israel says Egyptian officials are not the source of the story. In any case, Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has told IsraCast that Israel is ready for a cease-fire if the new Palestinian leadership halts the violence.

Is an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire in the works? An Egyptian report that the two sides are about to announce a truce has been denied. However, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says a cease-fire is possible, if the Palestinians halt the violence.

The Foreign Minister says Israel will do everything to bring peace and quiet to the region, but no cease-fire agreement is about to be signed and there are no negotiations being conducted with the Palestinians. Silvan Shalom adds the Palestinians must stop the violence if they want to move forward in the peace process because this is one of their main commitments in phase one of the Roadmap. If the Palestinians keep their commitments, they will find Israel willing to move toward peace. However, if they don’t halt the terrorism, the Foreign Minister warns that Israel will do all she can to prevent attacks on Israeli civilians.

Silvan Shalom is cool to the idea of an international summit on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. It was not on the agenda and it was premature to talk about it. When asked about the impact of Cairo possibly returning its ambassador in the near future, the Foreign Minister was more effusive. Shalom said he has long been pressing for the return of both the Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors. Other Arab states would follow suit building a diplomatic and economic momentum, which would be of immense benefit to Israel. In light of the thaw in relations with Egypt, has Israel’s Foreign Minister received any invitations from other Arab capitals? Silvan Shalom does not want to put the cart before the horse and he says: ‘You’ll know about them when they happen’.Although, the Egyptian report about an imminent cease-fire jumped the gun, the proverbial ‘No smoke without a fire’ may very well be true.

David Essing

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