Peres with Senator John Kerry [file].
(photo credit: Jini Agency)
Western intervention in Libya will have a positive ripple effect in Iran and
elsewhere in the region, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday during a
meeting with US Senator John Kerry.
According to Netanyahu, the
“determination” that the West showed in imposing and implementing the no-fly
zone in Libya will be felt by other regimes in the region.
meeting Kerry, the chairman of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee,
Netanyahu said in the Knesset that the upheaval in the region did not start, as
many believe, with Tunisia, but rather a year and a half ago in Iran when
millions of people took to the streets to “demand freedom, equality and
If the democratic world enlisted to prevent an oppressive regime
in Libya from slaughtering its own people, “I would expect from the western
countries and the international community threatening [Muammar] Gaddafi to use
similar pressure on Iran,” he said.
Iran, Netanyahu said, is more
important than Libya, and its representatives and supporters continue to
“torpedo peace and security in the region.”
In his meeting with Kerry,
Netanyahu said that so far it appeared that Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah have been
exempt from the current upheavals sweeping through their region.
men also discussed Syria, how the unrest there was likely to play out, and
whether there was a “peace option” with Syria.
Kerry, considered a close
confidant of US President Barack Obama, has served as one of Washington’s main
interlocutors with Syrian President Bashar Assad, visiting Damascus five times
in the last two years. He will not, however, be going there on this regional
In a related diplomatic development, Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman is scheduled to fly to Paris on Wednesday. On Tuesday French Prime
Minister Francois Fillon told the National Assembly that a Palestinian state
should be created this year.
The people of the Mideast “are also
concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which must not be forgotten
while Arab political transition is taking place,” he told the National Assembly
in a debate on armed intervention in Libya. France has been a prime mover for
western intervention in Libya.
“The peace process must be restarted
without delay,” he said, adding that “2011 must also be the year of the creation
of a Palestinian state.”
His statements came a week after French Foreign
Minister Alain Juppe said that while France would not recognize a Palestinian
state on its own, the possibility of the entire EU doing so “should be kept in
Lieberman is scheduled to meet Juppe during his visit. He does not
have a meeting scheduled with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, meanwhile, took the Palestinian Authority to task
Tuesday for comments Saeb Erekat made in an interview published Sunday, saying
that the PA intends on asking the UN to recognize a Palestinian state within the
1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Saying that the PA was
convinced negotiations with Netanyahu’s government were fruitless, he said “the
Palestinian leadership decided to start implementing alternatives to
negotiations and the first of these is demanding recognition.”
speaking to some 50 foreign diplomats at the Foreign Ministry, warned that this
type of Palestinian “unilateralism” signals “the death knell to the peace
“This policy is a dangerous escalation as it states once and
for all the end of negotiations as far as the Palestinians are concerned,” he
said. “It was always understood that unilateral steps by one party could lead to
unilateral steps by other parties which will not result in the peace and
stability that we are supposed to work towards.”
While this unilateralism
may result in recognition, Ayalon said, “it certainly will not result in
anything resembling statehood. It is irresponsible and provocative.”