By Jonathan Walsh
By Jonathan Walsh
Rabat – King Mohammed VI has allegedly sent a senior Moroccan Jewish negotiator to Israel, with the intention that he mediate preliminary discussions between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and work towards the establishment of official peace talks, according to Israeli media.
It is hoped that Sam Ben-Shitrit, who is well respected by both parties, will manage to get both Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas to engage in meaningful discussions later this week. Should he succeed, it would set the stage for the first official peace-oriented talks between the leaders in nearly five years.
Recent times have seen a reemergence of the violence that has long marred the region, and, leading up to Morocco’s decisive action, many UN member states have emphasized the need for renewed peace talks.
Ben-Shitrit, who is the founder and chairman of the World Federation of Moroccan Jews, has been chosen specifically by the King for the task.
The proposed meetings were allegedly initiated by Ben-Shitrit during previous discussions with Abbas, who agreed to meet the Israeli Prime Minister in person, as long as there were no preconditions. Ben-Shitrit then wrote to Netanyahu to confirm the invitation.
The Israeli leader has himself stressed the significance of a political resolution in recent times.
Following a brief meeting between the pair during a climate change conference in Paris last November, Netanyahu said, “It’s important for the world to see that we’re ready to talk,” before going on to criticize the role he believes Abbas has played in the violence.
“We have no illusions… Incitement plays a central role in terrorism and Abbas must stop his incitement,” he added.
As many as 2,251 Palestinians and 72 Israelis died in 2014 during a seven-week military operation launched by Israel in Gaza. It appears that all parties involved hope to avoid a return to violence.
Edited by Kelsey Fish