(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)
Israel welcomes the unequivocal support expressed today by the Security Council for the direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, in the framework of the Annapolis process, in accordance with the principles agreed by the parties themselves and represented to the Quartet, including the principle that any agreement will be subject to Road Map implementation, which requires first and foremost the dismantling of the terror infrastructure.
The Security Council endorsed, for the first time, the three Quartet principles, as the basis for international legitimacy and support for any Palestinian government. In so doing, the international community has delivered an unequivocal message to the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza.
The Security Council's statement that lasting peace can only be based on mutual recognition, ending terror and incitement and committing to the two-state solution, is an endorsement of core Israeli principles for the peace process.
Israel also welcomes the Security Council's call for the states of the Middle East to create an environment conducive to bilateral negotiations, including by promoting mutual recognition and peaceful coexistence in the region, in parallel with progress in the bilateral process. This is a priority that Foreign Minister Livni has promoted as a key component of the peace process.
Foreign Minister Livni commented on the resolution, stating: "Today's Security Council resolution constitutes international endorsement for the Annapolis process in keeping with the guiding principles established by the parties, namely: direct bilateral negotiations between the parties, without international intervention, and according to the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, a commitment to the Quartet principles - recognizing Israel, ending terror and accepting former agreements - as well as conditioning implementation of any future agreement on the implementation of the Road Map. The Security Council's clear support is a vote of confidence in the process Israel is advancing with the legitimate Palestinian leadership, that has no substitute, and that confirms that with sensible leadership it is possible to harness the international community to support Israel's interests and the interests of advancing genuine peace."
Minister Livni added that: "Israel will continue to conduct direct bilateral negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on the basis of the principles established at Annapolis. However, the negotiations must be accompanied by parallel and uncompromising efforts against Hamas rule in Gaza and terrorist groups that target innocent civilians. Concern for security is the first and highest imperative."