Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would take away much of the motivation for terrorism around the world.
He described the long-running conflict as the key problem in the region and said resolving it would have a knock on effect that could result in Syria ending its support for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Iran turning back its controversial nuclear program.
"It will take about half the impetus in the whole world — not just the region, the whole world — for terror away," he told an audience of Egyptian businessmen from the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. "It would have more impact by far than anything else that could be done."
Clinton presided over the breakthrough Oslo Accords in 1993 that led to direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians over the principle of land for peace as well as a last ditch effort to negotiate a final agreement in 2000 before violence derailed negotiations.
He said both sides knew the outlines of any final agreement and said it was similar to the one he hammered out with Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak in 2000.
"They're not even pretending now that they are not basically going to go back and take the modernized version I authored in 2000 that Israel accepted," he said, expressing frustration with the current impasse in the talks over settlement construction.
"They blew 10 years and complicated the problem demographically by not doing this in 2000. It must be done," he said.