NEW YORK – The focus of the Palestinians on the issue of the settlement
moratorium is an “all-or-nothing” approach, which is a “pretext” that bodes
poorly for negotiations, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, in an
interview with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Ayalon also said the
Foreign Ministry is “not at all” marginalizing Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s peace efforts, despite the apparent dissonance between the positions
of the ministry and Netanyahu exemplified by Avigdor Lieberman’s remarks to the
United Nations General Assembly the same day.
Netanyahu, Lieberman spar as FM says no peace ‘for decades’
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“I think we’re all working
for the same goal – two states for two peoples,” Ayalon said of the Foreign
Ministry and Netanyahu.
“So we are on the same page here.”
asked what Israel’s plan is to keep the Palestinians at the negotiation
Ayalon turned the question around.
“I think the question should not be
what Israel is going to do – Israel has done a lot,” Ayalon said. “The
is, how committed and how serious are the Palestinians in trying to
a peaceful solution to the conflict?” Ayalon added that Palestinians’
about the end of the moratorium on settlement construction was a
“The fact that they are using the freeze, or settlements
generally, as a pretext is something which is new to the negotiation
from the last 10 months or so,” Ayalon said. “But they wasted
the 10 months [saying] that, supposedly, the freeze was not genuine. Now
keep pressing to continue it as a precondition to continue the
“This is absolutely not acceptable,” Ayalon said.
not a way to build trust, and this is not a way to trade concessions.
allor- nothing approach which we cannot accept, and this will not bode
the [talks’] continuation.
“If Israel accepted this dictate, then its
position would be compromised throughout the negotiations,” Ayalon
He then turned to the subject of the strained relations with
“Israeli-Turkish relations are important for the two countries,
and we would like to see a balanced approach from Ankara, without
terror organizations like Hamas,” Ayalon said.
“The answer to this
question is in Ankara.”
If you’re saying that the answer to the
dilemma lies in Ankara, and the answer to the fate of the
negotiations is in Ramallah, then is there nothing Israel can do in
these situations but wait and see?
“With the Palestinians what we have done was
a major concession for a 10- month freeze on the settlements,” Ayalon
I believe that if they came forward, with no preconditions, we could
everything: Jerusalem, the refugees and the settlements, of course, and
– and first and foremost, security arrangements before everything
“I think Israel has done a lot,” Ayalon continued, citing the
Israeli-Palestinian two-states-for-two-peoples issue as an example. “We
that they will recognize a Jewish state, but we didn’t state it as a
precondition to negotiations.
“We have not put any preconditions on any
of the details which are extremely, vitally important to us,” Ayalon
we should expect the same of the Palestinians.”
But isn’t that somewhat
disingenuous on a certain level, if any vision of the future which does
involve Israel as a Jewish state is a non-starter?
“We could have said the same
thing – that a freeze is a non-starter for us!” Ayalon said, adding that
having done so “showed a lot of respect to the international community,
was a major gesture to the Palestinians that should not be abused.”
then what of Iran’s nuclear capability? Who will stop Iran?
“I believe the
international community is committed to do that,” Ayalon said.
it’s the international community who will feel the consequences. [It]
allow Iran to become nuclear.
“I have great faith in the international
community,” Ayalon added.