Israel ex-officers urge PM to make peace with Palestinians

AFP , Monday 3 Nov 2014

Over 100 former high-ranking Israeli army members, police officers and spy chiefs have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pursue peace with the Palestinians, media reported Monday.

"We, the undersigned, reserve IDF (army) commanders and retired police officers, who have fought in Israel's military campaigns, know first-hand of the heavy and painful price exacted by wars," 105 signatories said in a joint letter addressed to Netanyahu.

Excerpts of the letter were published by Ynet news website.

It called on Netanyahu to embark on a "courageous initiative" and make peace with the Palestinians and other Arab states.

"We fought bravely for the country in the hope that our children would live here in peace, but we got a sharp reality check, and here we are again sending our children out onto the battlefield," it said.

"This is not a question of left or right. What we have here is an alternative option for resolving the conflict that is not based solely on bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians, which have failed time and again.

"We expect a show of courageous initiative and leadership from you. Lead -- and we will stand behind you," said the letter.

The website said the letter was the brainchild of major general Amnon Reshef, a former armoured corps commander.

Ynet said that Reshef was "sick and tired of a reality of rounds of fighting every few years instead of a genuine effort to adopt the Saudi initiative".

It was referring to the Arab Peace Initiative drawn up in 2002 by oil kingpin Saudi Arabia, which called on Israel to withdraw from occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, in exchange for a normalisation of ties with Arab countries.

Former president and Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres made a similar appeal last week, saying: "It's a shame that the only peace initiative was an Arab initiative. Where is the Israeli peace initiative?"

US-brokered peace talks between Israel and Palestinians have been frozen since April.

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