Egypt's Ambassador to Israel: 'Settlements undermine hope for the future'
Hazem Khairat says at Herzliya conference that Cairo is ready to help Israel and the Palestinians reach an accord, adding the two-state solution remained the only way to achieve peace; 'If we ignore this truth, it will lead to an explosion both peoples would be happy to avoid,' he says.
Speaking alongside Israel’s most senior political officials and ministers, including Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Khairat said that "a viable (Palestinian) state cannot be under the continued expansion of the settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem."
The settlements, he continued, "erode the land of the future Palestinian state, undermine hope for the future and threaten Israel's long-term security."
Khairat went on to say that a two-state solution remained the only way to achieve the desired aspirations of Israel and the Palestinians.
"If we ignore this truth, it will lead to an explosion both peoples would be happy to avoid," he warned. "The lack of hope strengthens the tension that can lead to violence," which the ambassador said would only play into the hands of extremists on both sides.
Khairat praised the efforts being undertaken by US President Donald Trump to achieve a peace in the Middle East and a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel.
"We have to recognize that the role of the international community, especially the United States, is to enable the sides to reach this agreement and to support them its implementation," Khairat added.
"At a time in which the Trump administration is ready to join the negotiations between the two sides, in light of his vision to achieve peace, Egypt is always ready to continue its role in helping the two sides," he claimed. "We have a real opportunity to open a new and brilliant chapter in our region and to advance peace in the area."
During his speech, Khairat also referred to statements made by his boss in Cairo, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, "We have a real opportunity to open a new a great chapter in history in our region by advancing peace."