The Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee met Tuesday to discuss Israel’s response to the recent recognition of a Palestinian state by Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. Committee Chairman Danny Danon (Likud) said that Israel must initiate a public diplomacy counter-attack and to enlist overseas Jewry to the struggle. “In the international ring there are no vacuums, and there is fevered activity by the Palestinians. We need to make Salam Fayad’s fear come true –that the Palestinian State will be no more than a Facebook state and that the support it gets from the world is no more than a “like”.”

Danon said that although Israel does not instruct Jewish communities how to act, but that they must understand alone and initiate activities, protests, and writing campaigns. The Foreign Ministry, he said, must help enlist the Jewish communities to active public diplomacy efforts.

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Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon emphasized that overseas Jewry is part of Israel’s line of defense – and that Israel belongs to all of the Jews worldwide. Ayalon said that “the Palestinians have no interest in negotiations, but they blame Israel for forgoing it, while at the same time, the advance a unilateral solution according to their maximalist position.”

Ayalon told committee members that there is no danger in the recognition by the four South American states of a Palestinian State, because in November 1988, then-PLO chairman Yasser Arafat already declared the establishment of such a state in the 1967 borders. Since then, 104 states have recognized that state, but Ayalon argued that that recognition had not helped the Palestinians in the international front.

“The Arabs don’t turn to states that are involved in the process or to those that have an interest in regional stability – but rather to distant countries. Even those states in South America have made their recognition dependent upon a negotiated solution and that the Palestinian state will be democratic, and thus the letters themselves have an internal contradiction,” continued Ayalon. “Each signature like that isn’t worth the paper that it is written upon.”

“Israel will never hold negotiations with a pistol held to its head, and nobody can decide for Israel what is important and what to insist upon” warned Ayalon. “Our goal is not to sign a paper, but to reach a fundamental change to the situation in the region. Not a peace for five years, but for five hundred years.”

The Foreign Ministry, he told the committee, already informed the four South American states that their actions were in opposition to agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians.

The response received, according to Foreign Ministry representative Dorit Shavit, was surprising. The United States, she said, were surprised by Brazil’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state – as was, she added, Brazil’s own Foreign Ministry, which was kept in the dark about the decision.

World Jewish Congress Head Daniel Diker warned that “today, the situation is different from ’88, because back then, the Arabs did not receive support from the United Sates and Europe, while today US President Barack Obama intends to establish a Palestinian State, and the former Spanish foreign minister Javier Solana also declared that he supports the unilateral establishment of a state. The Jewish communities in those South American states are alarmed because there are also large and established Arab communities there – in Chile alone there are 350,000 Palestinians.”

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