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Israel’s Rivlin proposes ‘confederation’ with Palestinians

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has proposed the establishment of an Israeli-Palestinian “confederation” as a means of settling the perennial Middle East conflict, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Friday.

In an interview with the newspaper, Rivlin said there was no chance of peace in the absence of “open borders” between Israel and its neighbours, going on to propose the establishment of a borderless, Palestinian-Israeli “confederation”.

In a veiled reference to a potentially violent response to such proposals by Jewish extremists, Rivlin did not rule out the possibility of “political assassination”, saying: “Everything is possible.”

“There are those who maintain the illusion that a democratic Jewish state is only democratic for the Jews,” he told Yedioth Ahronoth.

The Israeli president added: “There is a difficulty in combating terrorism emanating from radical Jewish groups.”

In 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an ultra-nationalist Jewish Israeli who opposed Rabin’s Oslo peace initiative with the Palestinians.

Precedent

Rivlin’s remarks come following the recent arrest of a handful of Jewish extremists accused by Israeli authorities of carrying out acts of violence.

The arrests were prompted by an international outcry over the death last week of an 18-month-old Palestinian baby in an arson attack in the occupied West Bank by suspected Jewish extremists.

In a precedent, Israel on Tuesday ordered that a Jewish extremist accused of carrying out a June attack on a Christian church be placed in “administrative detention” – a punishment heretofore reserved for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel’s policy of administrative detention allows authorities to hold suspects for renewable six-month periods without trial.

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