Secret Meeting - Dr. Michael Oren Meets Palestinian Authority Representative at Hebrew University’s Truman Institute to Discuss Calming Tensions

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Palestinian Authority representative Elias Zananiri (L) and Israeli Member of Knesset Dr. Michael Oren at the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute for Peace on Nov. 24, 2015Jerusalem, November 24, 2015 — Against the backdrop of ongoing terror attacks that continue to claim victims, a special meeting took place late this afternoon between Israeli Member of Knesset Dr. Michael Oren (Kulanu party), a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and Palestinian Authority representative Elias Zananiri, the deputy chairman of the Palestinian Committee for Interaction With the Israeli Society.

The two met at the initiative of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, out of a desire to try and find solutions that will hasten the end of the current wave of terror.

Both expressed their sorrow at the participation of children and youth in terrorist attacks, and Zananiri condemned what he described as the execution of a Palestinian youth who had brandished a knife after she had already been neutralized at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market yesterday. Dr. Oren objected to the use of the term "execution" and stressed that the Israeli public supports the security forces acting to protect the people of Israel, even from a young woman carrying a knife.

Israeli Member of Knesset Dr. Michael Oren (L) and Palestinian Authority representative Elias Zananiri at the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute for Peace on Nov. 24, 2015Dr. Oren referred to incitement in the Palestinian Authority, and expressed his opinion that large segments of the Israeli public would be willing to soften their positions if the security threat from the Palestinian side were to end.

Zananiri replied that incitement is also the enemy of the Palestinians, and offered to re-establish a tripartite committee of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United States against incitement.

Zananiri said: "In Israeli society there are enough social, political and national players that we in the Palestinian Authority can agree with, and that encourages us. In my opinion it is possible to resolve the conflict via serious negotiations and without bloodshed." Zananiri also referred to the need to "stop the current madness of mutual violence between the two sides.”

Dr. Oren said he had no illusions about peace and that it is necessary to find solutions that fit the reality in the Middle East. “I believe in the solution of two states for two independent nations as a long-term goal. There are shared economic and other interests common to both nations and we need to prepare the ground toward this."

The two discussed core issues of the conflict and the need to restore calm immediately.

The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace is the first and largest research institute in Israel and the Middle East that studies advancing peace in the region. The Truman Institute focuses on the states of the Middle East as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its researchers also study Asia, Africa, and Latin America; examining them from an interdisciplinary approach – historical, cultural, psychological, political and socio-economic. The Truman Institute highlights the value of tolerance and dialogue in advancing peaceful co-existence among peoples and nations. The Truman Institute plays an instrumental role in bringing together people locally and internationally, from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds, including politicians and diplomats, holding over 100 events on an annual basis. Operating under the auspices of the Truman Institute, the Abba Eban Centre for Israeli Diplomacy brings Ambassadors, Foreign Ministers, and policy makers from all over the world to engage with Truman scholars on current issues in Israeli-Palestinian relations, the Middle East, as well as topics related to foreign affairs and diplomacy. For more information, visit http://truman.huji.ac.il.

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