PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that should US President Donald Trump endorse a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, it would come at a price whose brunt the Jewish state will eventually feel.
Speaking at a Likud faction meeting, the premier addressed the future of the stalled peace negotiations following Trump's visit to the country.
"The public should know that we received last week 75 million dollars from the Trump administration
but know that there is no such thing as innocent gifts," the prime minister said, explaining that the US president expected to see progress in the peace process in return.
"The president said some important things and we congratulate him for that but he also said that he wants a deal, and that Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] wants a deal too. It's important to know that Trump wants a deal, and it comes at a price," he stated.
The prime minister also said that Israel's foreign policy was taking on a more assertive tone as the government refuses to accept its allies' open support of organizations that advocate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), terror acts against Israel or actions against IDF soldiers.
"I think that you have been witnessing for quite some time now the resolute policy we have been implementing in our foreign policy about things that once were perhaps taken for granted but now we no longer view them that way," Netanyahu said, noting that the government was slowly but surely pulling towards a change in foreign policy.
Netanyahu clarified that he was not hesitant in expressing his government's dismay with certain countries' decision to side with organizations that are perceived as anti-Israeli, even when the countries in question are close allies.
"We take this stand even [when] facing the best of our friends and we clarify to them that we cannot accept that [Israel] friendly governments support organizations that extol terror against us or that act against IDF soldiers. It's a process that has begun."
The prime minister provided a recent example to demonstrate that the new approach in foreign policy is already coming into effect, speaking about Israel's relations with Norway. "A few days ago I asked Yuval Rotem, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to turn to the Norwegian government and tell them to withdraw their aid from the women's organization named after Dalal Mugrhabi."
Netanyahu says ‘insufferable’ Breaking the Silence is ‘being dealt with’ , March 2016
"Dalal Mugrhabi participated in the murder of tens of Israelis in the Coastal Road massacre. I asked that they [Norway] withdraw their financial support and cut off the ties with this organization," Netanyahu continued.
"I am happy to say that Norway's Foreign Minister Borge Brende did exactly that and it's good that he did. We also turned to the UN's Secretary-General and told him to withdraw the UN's endorsement of that body and to the best of my understanding they are indeed doing that. These are the buds of things that we're doing in an overall process," he revealed.
Netanyahu had already proved that he was not hesitant to press ahead with this approach, even at the cost of diplomatic disputes.
In April Netanyahu called off a meeting he was supposed to hold with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel because the latter had announced that he was planning to meet with representatives of the NGO Breaking the Silence during his visit to Israel.
Breaking the Silence facilitates the testimonies of IDF veterans who talk abroad and in Israel about their service experiences from volatile areas such as the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
Multiple Knesset members denounced the premier for the move, deeming it unwise as it could potentially cause a rift between Israel and an important, powerful European ally.
Gabriel himself expressed his bewilderment over Netanyahu's decision
to nix the meeting, telling Germany's ZDF television: "Imagine if the Israeli Prime Minister... came to Germany and wanted to meet people critical of the government and we said that is not possible... That would be unthinkable."