Saturday, July 2, 2011

Intelligence Minister Meridor: Netanyahu had no choice, but to respond to Obama's programmatic speech

Following the harsh criticsiism of Netanyahu by Robert Wexler expressing the White House feelings about Netanyhu's US visit last month, the most dovish Likud minister Dan Meridor backed the PM in an interview to Ben Caspit in Maariv.

Ben Caspit writes in his analysis something that is important to note:"Dan Meridor is one of the most cautious politicians created since he got engaged in politics, When he expresses his dismay of the Americans, it's a kind of an earthquake...that is Very uncharacteristic of him, but we are in a complex period, the Intelligence Minister, Dan Meridor with his soft style, moving and tender, took off the gloves".  

(Part of the interview as translated from in hebrew) "I'm sorry that Obama made his speech before the arrival of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister was about to arrive, and it would rather be convenient to discuss it first and see if there is an agreement on the content of the speech, The gaps were not large. the biggest evidence to that, is President Obama's speech a few days later at AIPAC, where the terminology he used were closer to our terminology, particularly with regard to the '67 lines.

"You have to understand, Netanyahu arrived in Washington in a state where Obama was ahead already of him and spoke a day before his arrival, that is quite unusual. The president gave a programmatic speech, rather than talk to him before, therefore Netanyahu had no choice but to respond. It's not that Netanyahu initiated it. we wanted a totally different outcome of this visit, we thought that we had agreed on everything with the Americans, everything was ready for it, there was a good chance to get the positive outcome, but at the last moment it changed. "

"There are still differences, not identical positions, but there is great affinity between them, between what Netanyahu says and what Obama says. There is more work to be done , and both should make an effort to reach a common strategy, set the destination to which we are trying to build a formula for resuming negotiations.

"Its Time for you to acknowledge the big step Netanyahu made, Netanyahu presented a map - Its principles. He spoke about attaching Jerusalem and the large settlement blocs to israel, in addition to a long term military presence in the Jordan Valley, Israeli Sovereignty, according to Netanyahu, would be only in the large settlement blocs and in Jerusalem.

"In my opinion, Netanyahu presented a plan with a coherent policy that can be an excellent base to proceed. if the Americans wanted and they would have listened to my advice, they would see that there is an excellent base for a political process. The Palestinians are talking about 67 lines, Israel says 67 lines plus chunks. the only debate would be on the extent of the blocks, but there are two clear positions, not far territorially, and there is a basis for negotiations.

"If this is not a basis for negotiations, then there is no basis for negotiations ever. I think the prime minister presented a clear Israeli plan to end this conflict".