Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Foreign Ministery launches Diplomatic Offense: Does PA Really Want Peace?

(IsraelNN.com) The Foreign Ministry Tuesday launched a new diplomatic offensive that publicly questions the Palestinian Authority’s sincerity in wanting peace with Israel and outlines its “enigmatic behavior.” The ministry’s statements follow by one week Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s speech to Israeli diplomats to get the message across” that Israel’s concessions to the PA have been met by new demands and a refusal to sit down and talk.

“The consistent rejection by Palestinians of Israeli peace initiatives and its current refusal to negotiate leaves Israel questioning whether its neighbors are in fact committed to peace,” said the Foreign Ministry.

Ministry officials outlined a step-by-step history of Israeli concessions to the PA, dating from the Oslo Accords to the recent 10-month freeze on new building for Jews in Judea and Samaria. They quoted American praise and PA rejection of the freeze: ”The Israeli move was welcomed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, special envoy for Mideast peace former Senator George Mitchell, who stated that ‘it is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help movement toward agreement between the parties.’

“Palestinian spokesmen rejected the moratorium even before the official Israeli announcement. The Fatah Central Committee claimed that Prime Minister Netanyahu was trying to avoid peace, stated that the Israeli decision showed Netanyahu was ‘continuing to avoid the peace process and ignore all opportunities to achieve peace.’”

The diplomatic offensive notes that the American administration praised Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech last June when he announced he accepts the principle of a PA state. Spokesmen then added the PA response: “Saeb Erekat, senior Palestinian negotiator stated, ‘The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise. Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back.’ Similarly, PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rdaineh stated, ‘Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralyzed all efforts being made.’

“Ahmed Bahar, acting chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that the speech proved that "'resistance' [i.e. terrorism] was the only way for Palestinians to receive the rights they deserved.’”

The Foreign Ministry also highlighted Israeli “measures to enhance freedom of movement” that not “only improve the quality of life of Palestinian civilians but also promote economic development…. Despite Israeli confidence building measures, the PA has orchestrated a campaign in international forums to delegitimize Israel and undermine its economy and security.”