Monday, August 8, 2011

Netanyahu tells ambassadors that the Palestinians have shown no willingness for compromise on issue of refugees, Jewish state, or end conflict

(Jpost).Israel is prepared to make concessions, but the Palestinians have shown no indication of a willingness on their own for compromise, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday to a group of 18 ambassadors to Washington from Asian, European, African and Latin American countries who don't usually vote for Israel at the UN.

"Six prime ministers, including myself, have come out in support of a Palestinian state, and two offered far reaching concessions, but this hasn't helped," Netanyahu said, in a reference to the concessions offered by Ehud Barak in 2000, and Ehud Olmert in 2008.

Among the ambassadors were the envoys to the US from Albania, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Liberia, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Slovakia, St. Lucia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad & Tobago and Uganda.

Netanyahu told the ambassadors, brought to Israel for a week of high level meetings by The Israel Project, that the Palestinians have shown no willingness for compromise on the issue of refugees, Israel as a Jewish state, or that a future agreement would constitute an end to the conflict.

Netanyahu said that efforts were still underway to come up with a formula that would enable negotiations and keep the PA from turning to the UN. He said that this formula could include elements that both the sides could have reservations about, but that this should not keep them from entering talks.

Israeli officials said that Jerusalem has agreed to a formula calling for negotiations based on the 1967 lines, with mutual agreed swaps, as long as the Palestinians agree that the goal of the talks will be two states: a Palestinian one and a Jewish one. So far the Palestinians have balked at that type of language.

One Israeli official said that among the ambassadors were a number from countries "in the automatic block that votes against Israel" at the UN. "This is a group not known for voting for Israel, so the goal is to engage them, and any change in their voting pattern would be a plus."