Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren opened AIPAC’s 2013 Policy Conference on Sunday, telling delegates that the Palestinians must follow Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s lead and take risks for peace.
Oren and former U.S. diplomats Dennis Ross and Elliott Abrams were the first to speak at the opening plenary session of the three-day American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference at the Washington Convention Center. More than 13,000 delegates are participating in the conference, dedicated to expressing U.S. support for Israel and expounding policy directions and goals.
Oren told the forum that Israel was looking forward to President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel, scheduled for the end of March, and to the possibility of renewing the peace process with the Palestinians.
The ambassador said that Netanyahu has taken “consistent risks for peace,” including his speech at Bar Ilan where he recognized the principle of “two states for two nations,” and his commitment to freeze settlements. The time has come for the Palestinians to take risks as well, Oren told the delegates. Oren added, however, that if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas went forward with his Fatah party’s reconciliation with the Hamas in Gaza, it would be a “game ender” for the peace process. Read more here.