The speaker of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, has said that he would rather accept Palestinians as citizens of one country than divide Israel and the West Bank into two separate states.
“I would rather [have] Palestinians as citizens of this country over dividing the land up,” Rivlin, a member of the ruling Likud party, was quoted as saying in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper on Thursday.
During a meeting with Kyriakos Loukakis, Greece’s ambassador to Israel, Rivlin said that he did not see any point of Israel signing a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
He added that he did not believe Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, “could deliver the goods”.
As speaker of the Knesset, Rivlin would serve as acting president in the absence or incapacitation of the country’s president.
The Arab league’s secretary-general, Amr Moussa, said last month that the league was investigating the possibility of supporting a one-state solution if Israel left no opportunity to build two states.
Last year, Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, told the UN General Assembly that a two-state solution is not a feasible approach to bringing peace in the Middle East.
Much pain and suffering
Israeli Arabs are an inseparable part of the country that often encounter racism and arrogance from Israel’s Jews, said Rivlin last year.
He also called for a fundamental change in relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, during a speech given in the president’s residence, urging the foundation of a “true partnership” between the two sectors, based on mutual respect and absolute equality.
“Israeli Arabs are a group with a highly defined shared national identity, and which will forever be, as a collective, an important and integral part of Israeli society.”
He was also reported by Haaretz as saying that the establishment of Israel was accompanied by much pain and suffering and was a real trauma for the Palestinians.
“Many of Israel’s Arabs, which see themselves as part of the Palestinian population, feel the pain of their brothers across the green line – a pain they feel the state of Israel is responsible for.”