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Türkiye proposes guarantor formula for Israeli-Palestinian issue: Turkish foreign minister

Türkiye’s foreign minister has put forth a proposal for a guarantor system in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, emphasizing Ankara’s central role in shaping the idea.

Addressing reporters in an exclusive press briefing at the Foreign Ministry in the capital, Hakan Fidan emphasized the need for multiple countries including Türkiye to act as guarantors once both parties reach an agreement, with the responsibility to ensure its implementation.

Fidan also emphasized the importance of international pressure on Israel to adopt a two-state solution, saying Türkiye shared its views on this issue with the parties.

Discussions held between the Turkish foreign minister and the US revealed that the Biden administration was also supportive of a two-state solution. Fidan pointed out the need for the international community to take a more active role in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

The US has also expressed a favorable view of a two-state solution, indicating that it aligns with Türkiye’s perspective on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Fidan.

Noting that Israel has a history of advancing its policies regardless of criticism, he said: “In the end, there are no sanctions. There’s only a platform where arguments are taking place.”

Also, he highlighted that the deployment of a peacekeeping force from Türkiye to the region was not on the agenda, but emphasized the importance of initiating steps toward a two-state solution to achieve lasting peace.

However, he said, Ankara is raising the idea of a peacekeeping force in its talks with the parties involved and plans to discuss the matter at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), aiming to work towards a two-state solution and lasting peace in the region.

There is a necessity for regional countries to take responsibility and adopt a unified stance when dealing with any party in violation of the agreement, he said.

Stressing the importance of transforming the current situation into an opportunity for peace, Fidan underlined that the presence of guarantor countries would be pivotal in achieving a sustainable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said that US and Western military and political backing could provide an amount of deterrence, adding: “Until peace is guaranteed, the state and people of Israel in the region will never feel secure. In their continuous pursuit of security, they will feel the need to oppress others and resort to violence. This cycle will perpetuate itself.”

While Türkiye has proposed the idea of guarantorship, the specifics and framework still need further discussion, he said.

Fidan also highlighted the importance of Ankara’s role in international discussions, underlining that 95% of its foreign phone calls on the matter were initiated by the other side, pointing to Türkiye’s significance in the region.

Mentioning a recent conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, he said a potential unified position between China and Russia, as UN Security Council members, would be significant.

“China’s increased attention to regional issues compared to the past is also noteworthy. Our views largely align on the matter of Palestine.

“Our (Türkiye’s) perspectives already reflect universal truths. The fundamental issue lies in the international system’s failure to develop a concrete position,” he said

Israel’s Gaza bombardment unacceptable

Expressing strong disapproval of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, the top Turkish diplomat highlighted the devastating impact on the civilian population and infrastructure.

“Israel’s unprecedented and intensive bombing of Gaza thus far, resulting in a significant number of civilian casualties, and its disruption of electricity, water, and fuel supplies, essentially subjecting the area to deprivation and hunger, is unacceptable,” he said.

Furthermore, “we do not accept the displacement of the civilian population through intimidation from their places of residence, especially from the north to the south of Gaza,” he added.

Fidan went on to highlight the need for immediate efforts to halt attacks against civilians, allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, and minimize negative impacts on the civilian population.

Türkiye, he said, is actively pursuing opportunities to turn the crisis into an avenue for peace.

Having long suspended the notion of a two-state solution to the conflict, Israel has been shifting its focus from peace negotiations with Palestinians to seeking reconciliation with other Arab nations, Fidan noted, adding that this has led to significant setbacks in the peace process.

He said Israel had in the past faced problems of acceptance by Arab and other countries in the region. “Once its existence was acknowledged, refusing to accept the other side became easier,” he added.

Israel has launched a massive air campaign on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian Hamas group, displacing over 1 million people — almost half the enclave’s total population, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Gaza is experiencing a dire humanitarian crisis with no electricity, while water, food, fuel and medical supplies are running out as civilians flee to its southern region following an Israeli warning to evacuate its northern areas.

The fighting began when Hamas on Oct. 7 initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased settler violence against Palestinians.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.

At least 2,848 Palestinians, including 750 children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed in the conflict.

Hamas’ attack on Israel surprise to everyone

The incidents triggered by Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7 took everyone by surprise, especially in Israel, said Fidan.

He emphasized that the ability of individuals, including members of Hamas and other groups, to easily cross from Gaza into Israel and the absence of any resistance upon their entry was astonishing.

The vulnerability that the offensive revealed in Israel’s security system will be discussed for many years to come, he said, underlining the importance of understanding the conditions that led to the events on Oct. 7.

In response to Hamas’ attack, Fidan emphasized that Ankara condemned any actions targeting civilians. “Westerners classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, and because of this classification, they assess all of Hamas’s activities within the framework of terrorism.

“However, we believe that no group should target civilians. We don’t agree with this approach. In the past, Israel, as it has done before, did not make any distinctions when carrying out retaliatory actions,” he added.

Underlining that “nothing is being done” about Israel seizing the land of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and other places, blocking a two-state solution, and working to change the status of Jerusalem, Fidan asserted that despite the problem being identified and a large consensus being formed around it, this has not been translated into action.