JERUSALEM (Apr. 19)
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has challenged Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to join the Middle East peace process and prove his claim that he has changed his approach to Israel.
Peres made the comments in reaction to news reports that Gadhafi had invited former Libyan Jews in Israel to visit their home country and was offering compensation for property the Jews had left behind in Libya.
Peres added that Israel would welcome Libyan pilgrims to Israel’s holy places, just as it would welcome any Moslem pilgrims from other parts of the world.
Gadhafi’s reported gesture to former Libyan Jews would parallel moves by another north African country, Morocco, which has allowed Israelis of Moroccan origin to visit the country without any visas, under the claim that they were still considered Moroccan citizens.
The comments by Peres and Gadhafi came after other reports in the media that Libya was interested in joining the multilateral working groups in the peace process, but was reluctant to announce it publicly.