Political Breakfast with Shaul Mofaz

Berlin, June 30, 2011

Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs & Defence Committee of the Knesset, met with representatives of federal ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks to discuss regional developments arising from the Arab Spring, and the Israel-Palestine peace process.

While the Arab Spring was viewed positively as it was expected to herald democratic changes, some participants expressed concern that radical groupings would come into power. For Israel, it was important to safeguard the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan because they are pivotal to Israel’s security.

On Israel-Palestine conflict, the discussions took the view that both Palestine and Israel should press on with diplomatic negotiations. On the modality of the peace process, there were differing views, with some supporting a regional framework that included the US and the Arab stakeholders, while others thought that the peace process should be negotiated bilaterally between Israel and Palestine given that multilateral negotiations had not worked in the past.

To move the peace process forward, it was suggested that both Israel and Palestine adopt incremental steps to achieve reconciliation. Both sides should pursue negotiations without preconditions and for a start, both sides could aim for interim agreement on border and security arrangements. Participants recommended Israel to take initiatives to reach out to Palestine, rather than adopt a wait-and-see approach before September when Palestine was expected to push for statehood through a UN vote.

Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.

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