Leaked British report faults PM for stalled talks

Document shows “disturbing attitudes” of the British Foreign Office toward Netanyahu and the Middle East peace process.

By JONNY PAUL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
July 5, 2012 03:08
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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LONDON – A UK news website released a document on Wednesday which it describes as containing “disturbing attitudes” the British Foreign Office shows toward Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Middle East peace process.

The document published by The Commentator, a London-based current affairs and analysis website, was marked restricted but released into the public domain under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Titled “Research Paper FINAL” the document had meant to be redacted but instead the sentences that were meant to be edited where highlighted in yellow thus were not secured by the Foreign Office before release.

The document, which was uncovered by the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group founder Matthew Elliott, looks at incitement, which it says has been “part of the discourse of the peace process since Oslo,” and Palestinian textbooks in the context of the peace process.

However it accuses Netanyahu using incitement as a delaying tactic while saying that Palestinian textbooks do not incite hatred.

“Netanyahu has a history of using the incitement issue as a delaying tactic in peace talks.

“Authoritative studies agree that PA textbooks are not inciting hatred of Israel.

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Nevertheless Palestinian, and Israeli, school curriculums could do better and should aim to teach something objective or positive about the other,” the summary states.

The documents reflects on comments made by Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon in 2009 that Palestinian textbooks teaches “young Palestinians to make suicide belts and incites them to kill Israelis.”

However the document refutes this by putting the blame on Netanyahu.

“The history of this issue suggests that Netanyahu administrations have a tendency to charge the PA/PLO with incitement as a delaying tactic in peace talks,” it says.

It then goes on to say that a series of “highly respectable studies” – citing the Congressional Research Service, UNESCO and the Israel Palestine Centre for Research and Information – shows that Ya’alon’s assertion is “without foundation.”

The Commentator claims that while Prime Minister David Cameron publicly calls the UK a “strong friend of Israel” this has “placed fresh doubts over whether Britain is as firm an ally as the Prime Minister has previously suggested.”

A Foreign Office representative told The Commentator, “The Foreign Secretary has consistently set out the UK’s position on the Middle East Peace Process, including the urgent need for progress and the UK’s unswerving support for a lasting two state solution.”

A government source said: “The views of a junior official under the last government should not be conflated with the clear positions that the foreign secretary has repeatedly set out in Parliament.”

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