Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged the EU countries on Tuesday to disabuse the Palestinians of the notion that the international community will “deliver Israel,” saying this vain Palestinian hope has led to 10 “wasted” months.
Referring to the Palestinian refusal to negotiate since he took office in March, Netanyahu – speaking at a luncheon with the EU’s ambassadors in Israel – said another 10 months will be wasted if the Palestinians feel that their strategy of “internationalization” of the conflict will work.
“It is up to you to urge the Palestinian Authority to begin talks,” he said. “We are pretty close, but a nudge from you can make it happen.”
The prime minister said that “proximity talks,” whereby the US would mediate indirect negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian teams, would be acceptable “as a corridor into direct talks.”
But ultimately, all the critical issues will have to be decided in direct negotiations, he said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman relayed a similar message on Thursday in Baku, where he met with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. According to a statement put out by his office, Lieberman said he believed indirect talks with the Palestinians would “begin shortly.”
He also called on Aliyev, who will host Mahmoud Abbas in the near future, to impress upon the PA president the importance of renewing direct talks.
Lieberman on Tuesday began a three-day visit to Azerbaijan, a Muslim country with which Israel is interested in fostering close ties. Last year President Shimon Peres went to Baku and signed a number of agreements.
Azerbaijan is a close ally of Turkey, and Lieberman related to the tensions with Ankara during an interview with an Azerbaijan television network.
“Every week to sharply condemn Israel, to say Israeli military forces have carried out genocide, to call operations to protect our citizens ‘a crime against humanity.’... This sharp anti-Israeli line cannot be repeated every week,” AFP quoted him as saying in remarks translated into Azerbaijani.
“For 10 years we have supported very close and friendly relations with
Turkey. The recent changes in Turkey’s foreign policy concepts were
unexpected to us and not entirely clear. We are doing everything we can
in order to preserve relations at their previous, very trustful level
and to maintain close cooperation in all areas,” he said.
“We hope that Turkey from its side will make certain amendments to its foreign policy concept.”
Lieberman’s comments came two weeks after Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan said Israel “should give some thought to what it would
be like to lose a friend like Turkey in the future,” in an interview
with the Euronews TV channel.
“We have important ongoing agreements between us. How can these
agreements be kept going in this climate of mistrust? I think Israel
had better take another look at its relations with its neighbors if it
believes it is a world power,” Erdogan said in the interview.