Sunday, June 19, 2011

Netanyahu: Stop treating Palestinians like a ‘spoiled child’

(Jpost).Some leaders in Europe treat the Palestinians “like a spoiled child” and instead need to “tell the Palestinians the truth,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said Sunday during a meeting with visiting Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov.

According to government sources, Netanyahu told Mladenov, considered one of the friendliest foreign ministers toward Israel in the EU, that there were individuals in the EU who never hesitated in telling Israel what they expected it to do, but were very reticent to take the same liberties with the Palestinians.

He was specifically talking about a reluctance by some in the EU to call explicitly for the Palestinians to give up on a “right of refugee return” and to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, even though these Europeans had no qualms about calling clearly for Israel to agree to a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines and to redivide Jerusalem.

By not speaking with the same determination or frankness with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said, these leaders were “doing a disservice to those individual Palestinian leaders who are ready for compromise and deserve their support.”

Israeli officials have long complained that while the Europeans are very specific when it comes to the solutions they envision regarding future borders or Jerusalem, when it came to an issue like refugees they often suffice with saying that a “just solution must be found.”

Why, one official asked, do they not use that same formula when addressing all issues, saying that a “just solution” needs to be found to the border question, rather than plainly referring to the 1967 lines as the resolution of that issue/ Netanyahu, who is scheduled to travel to Bulgaria and Romania in early July, reiterated Israel’s opposition to the Palestinians’ UN gambit, saying UN recognition would “put into UN cement” the maximalist Palestinian positions and prevent flexibility later.

To advance peace, Netanyahu said, it was necessary to oppose the PA’s move to the UN.

Mladenov gave the impression during his meetings in Jerusalem that Bulgaria would not support the Palestinian move.

Shortly after the meeting, Netanyahu met with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Quartet envoy Tony Blair. That meeting was held without aides or advisors, and nothing was revealed of its content except that Netanyahu asked the two to come out with a clear call to Hamas to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit as a way of increasing pressure on the organization’s leadership.

One government source said the thrust of Netanyahu’s discussions in recent days with visiting officials was how to come up with a framework to restart talks that would then get the Palestinians to withdraw their UN resolution in September. Israel has made it clear, however, that it will not restart talks in any framework if Hamas is part of the Palestinian government.

The prime minister told Mladenov that the PA has been “grossly irresponsible” both in forging a Hamas-Fatah agreement and in planning to go to the UN.