Jewish Sightseeing HomePage Jewish Sightseeing
 Shalom-Salam—Meeting in Davos 
Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


Shalom, Salam discuss 'peace'
at World Economic Forum in Davos
,  Jan. 31, 2005

Shalom.  Salam.  These were not only peace greetings, but—as actor Richard Geer, who was present at the beginning of the meeting, pointed out—Shalom and Salam were  the last and first names of the Israeli and Palestinian ministers who met during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported Sunday, Jan. 30, that while they were in Davos, Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Palestinian Authority Finance Minister Salam Fayad exchanged more than ceremonial greetings.  The two ministers also discussed some of the substantive questions in the peace-making process and agreed to meet with each other periodically.

Shalom informed Fayad that "Israel is interested in helping to improve Palestinian daily life," according to the Ministry's statement.  "To this end, Israel plans to build 24 civilian crossings between the PA territory and Israel, and another five goods crossings, the largest of which will be at the Erez checkpoint.  The cost of this construction will be hundreds of millions of dollars."

Israel's Foreign Minister also said besides progress on the diplomatic front, there needs to be positive economic developments for the Palestinians.  "Cessation of terror would create a positive atmosphere that would benefit both sides and would allow Israel to decrease the number of roadblocks and ease Palestinian movement.," Shalom said.

Shalom said he told Fayad and others attending the conference, including U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Bob Zoellick, that the relaxation of tensions in the Middle East provides a "very good opportunity for stopping terrorism and making progress in the diplomatic process.

"However, past mistakes must not be repeated, and a temporary cease fire that leaves terrorism on the sidelines like a bomb waiting to explode is not an acceptable solution," Shalom was quoted as saying. "Abu Mazen must dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, collect the illegal weapons in the PA, arrest wanted terrorists, destroy explosive laboratories, and put a stop to incitement to violence.

"Israel is not willing to return to a situation in which attacks and funerals take place during the day and peace talks are held at night."

During the discussion, Shalom was asked about the withdrawal of Israeli settlements in Gaza, to which he replied that this "is not a simple task, considering that the population is third-generation and has lived there for 35 years.    
Donald H. Harrison