Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FM Lieberman to EU: Israel has shown genuine desire to renew negotiations

(Jpost).Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman went on the offensive at the annual EU Israel Association Council meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, presenting the EU foreign ministers with a document contrasting Israel’s confidence- building measures toward the Palestinians with the PA’s “confrontational conduct,” and urging the EU not to encourage Palestinian provocations.

Lieberman said it was important to resume direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, but that “poverty and misery” are the main reasons for the unrest in Arab countries, and that there was no link between that turmoil and the Israeli- Palestinian diplomatic process.
"Since the establishment of the Netanyahu government Israel has taken numerous steps to improve life for the Palestinians and shown a genuine desire to renew negotiations."

"By contrast,during this time the Palestinians have worked in the opposite direction and have done everything to upset relations between the sides, in the belief that this will win them sympathy and support in the international community.”
Lieberman gave the EU foreign ministers a paper prepared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on “The Palestinian Authority’s political offensive against the State of Israel,” which details the PA’s activities over the past two years.

The Palestinians were “violating the Oslo Accords” by attempting to change the status of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, inciting against Israel, acting against Israel within the international organizations, organizing boycotts, glorifying suicide terrorists and encouraging terrorism, the paper said.

Lieberman told his EU counterparts,that those who genuinely want to bring about a renewal of negotiations need to condemn the Palestinian actions.
“Whoever truly wishes to improve Israeli-Palestinian relations and to bring about a renewal of sincere, effective negotiations between the sides must condemn the Palestinians for their actions and for their brazen violation of agreements signed with Israel, and let them know that their attempts to unilaterally establish a fait accompli will not succeed."

“The international community and the European countries in particular have a responsibility to urge the Palestinians to return to negotiating, rather than encouraging them to continue their provocations, which will only lead to a dead end that will harm the Palestinians more than it will harm Israel."
The paper, which the Foreign Ministry plans to present to members of the US Congress as well as to members of European parliaments, says that while the Palestinians have been confronting Israel, the Netanyahu government has taken numerous steps to benefit the Palestinians, including helping to improve and strengthen the Palestinian economy; reducing roadblocks; upgrading goods crossings; encouraging Palestinian business activity; increasing the numbers of Palestinians employed in Israel; promotion infrastructure, electricity and water projects; and engaging in security cooperation with the PA.

The paper also described a series of steps Israel took to ease the lives of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: promotion of health and education projects: upgrading the crossings for goods; providing entry permits into Israel for businessmen; increasing exports from the Gaza Strip; and agreeing to the “Blair package” to improve infrastructure in the Strip.