French President Nicolas Sarkozy 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy had three stark messages for Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu when they met in Paris in June 2009, according to a WikiLeaks
cable released late on Sunday night:
“You think you’ve got time, but you
WikiLeaks: US-Israel relations weathered 'rocky
Wikileaks: Diskin said Fatah is on its 'last
“You think you have an alternative solution, but you
“You think you’re stronger than the Palestinians, but you’re
Those bleak assertions to be delivered by Sarkozy were relayed to
US officials in Paris ahead of the meeting by Patrice Paoli, director for North
Africa and the Middle East at France’s Foreign Ministry.
Paoli added that
Sarkozy would stress that “there is a single door and it is imperative to move
through it now.”
He told his US interlocutors that France was
disappointed with the reservations contained in Netanyahu’s speech at Bar-Ilan
University that same month, in which the prime minister for the first time said
he would accept a demilitarized Palestinian state.
Still, Paoli said, the
speech reflected significant movement in the Likud’s position on the
France supported the US efforts to broker peace between Israel
and the Palestinians and wanted to get involved in advance of a consensus
position on the matter by the 27 EU states, Paoli said.
France wanted to help push Israel to freeze settlements and in the monitoring of
an eventual peace agreement, Paoli said.
The issue of monitoring was a
flaw in the Annapolis process, he said, and added, “The US can not be the only
judge of progress.”
During a visit to Paris earlier in June 2009, Defense
Minister Ehud Barak had told French officials that Israel had a “secret accord”
with the US to continue natural growth in the settlements, Paoli also
Paoli added that the Obama administration’s credibility would be
judged by its attitude toward the settlements.
French Foreign Ministry
official Ludovic Pouille, who also attended the meeting with the US officials,
stressed that the settlement issue was a key one in the Arab
“Arabs are saying progress on settlements is crucial. Saudi Arabia
and Egypt seem obsessed with the settlements issue; they won’t even enter the
game without progress on settlements,” he said, according to WikiLeaks
Meanwhile, in December 2009, after Israel had imposed a 10-month moratorium on
new settlement development, Netanyahu’s adviser Ron Dermer told US Senate staff
members that Israeli gestures to the Palestinians had not swayed them to return
to the negotiating table, according to a separate cable sent out of the US
Embassy in Tel Aviv and also published by WikiLeaks late Sunday.
told the Senate staff that 70 percent of Israelis opposed the moratorium, but
that the prime minister had made the gesture anyway in hopes of restarting the
Netanyahu believes that Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas is not as weak as he claims and can negotiate peace, Dermer said.
Abbas must now make some sort of gesture in return, he added.
understands Abbas’s political constraints and lack of support from Arab regional
partners, said Dermer. But at the end of the day, Abbas must “be a leader,” he
He said the PA president was trying to internationalize the
conflict, a move Dermer classified as a “big mistake.”
concessions to the Palestinians have been devalued because they were offered
outside the context of the negotiations, Dermer said. “Give us context,” he
Israel will not make any more concessions to Abbas with the aim of
swaying him to return to the negotiation table. “That is over,” Dermer
He wanted to know what the Palestinians had done to push forward
the negotiations. He added that he believed that the PA’s security improvements
were not about creating a climate for negotiations but rather should be seen as
a simple effort to preserve power.
The Israeli public, Dermer said, was
skeptical about the benefits of negotiations and it would be difficult for
Netanyahu to approach the cabinet about peace talks, given that Israel’s efforts
to date had been rejected by the international community.