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Retired military officials urge Netanyahu to push for peace

Over 100 former IDF officers, Mossad chiefs say moderation of Egypt gives hope for agreement with Abbas

I24NEWS | Published: November 01st 2014

An open letter signed by 106 retired senior military officials urging Israeli leadership to push toward a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians was published as a paid advertisement in a number of Israeli newspapers.

In addition to former Israeli Defense Forces staffers, signatories to the petition include two former chiefs of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency Mossad and retired senior police officials.

The petition was initiated by the retired Major-General Amnon Reshef, who said the moderate politics states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia represent an opportunity for Israel to forge close ties with the Arab world that would go a long way toward bridging the gaps with the Palestinians.

Israel was reported to be enjoying a healthy working relationship with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, and the two countries’ militaries have cooperated during the 50 day-long war between Israel and the Gaza-based terrorists of Hamas this summer.

Reshef said he hoped the security cooperation with Egypt would pave the way for a Sisi-brokered peace agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party; thus he found himself disappointed by the course adopted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I was hoping that once Operation Protective Edge is finished, the premier would launch some kind of political process. This never came to be, there was no positive reaction,” the retired general was quoted by Channel 2 News as saying.

“What I did see, however, was the expansion of Jewish settlements in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, all manner of delusional thoughts on building in the West Bank and authorization of illegal settlements. This trend upset me deeply.”

When asked regarding the likelihood of reaching a peace deal with Abbas, who has this week pronounced Friday a “day of rage” in Jerusalem following Israel’s decision to close the Temple Mount for Muslim worshipers, Reshef said Israelis should look beyond the Palestinian leader’s oft-bellicose rhetoric, just as one should not take all of Netanyahu’s statements at face value.

Earlier this week, Egyptian officials notified Hamas and other Palestinian factions that the upcoming round of indirect talks regarding a ceasefire agreement between Gaza militants and Israel has been postponed.

The announcement comes in the wake of a deadly attack in the northern Sinai Peninsula in which a militant drove a car rigged with explosives into a military checkpoint, killing 30 Egyptian police. In response, Egypt has shut down its border crossing with the Gaza Strip.

The talks, set up to iron out details of an August truce that ended five weeks of deadly fighting in Gaza, were scheduled for Monday. Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman of the Hamas movement, told the Palestinian Ma’an new agency that Egypt informed Hamas officials that the talks had been postponed. But Israel’s chief representative to the talks, Amos Gilad, told Israeli Radio that he had not received any word from Egypt regarding a postponement of Monday’s session.