Israel tells Palestinians its flexibility on territory dependent on their flexibility regarding security requirements.
By HERB KEINONPublished: JANUARY 29, 2012 20:10Advertisement
Palestinian Authority incitement is poisoning the atmosphere and is tantamount to “confidence destroying measures,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore on Sunday.Netanyahu’s comments came just hours after he sounded particularly downbeat in the cabinet regarding the diplomatic process, informing his ministers that signs of progress were not “especially good.”The Palestinian Authority has threatened not to renew low-level talks that began this month in Jordan between Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat unless Israel freezes settlement construction and agrees to the June 4, 1967, lines as the basis for negotiations.Speaking before a meeting with Gilmore, Netanyahu cited the PA’s official television broadcast of a program this week in which the terrorists who murdered five members of the Fogel family in Itamar last March were glorified.The PA television program, he said, portrayed the terrorists as martyrs and heroes, just days after the PA’s mufti in Jerusalem quoted from a Muslim text calling for the murder of Jews.“I think this is the wrong way to go. We demand a prompt condemnation; I hope you demand a condemnation because the only way to move to peace is to prepare our people for peace and not for brutal terror,” the prime minister said.Later, during the meeting with Gilmore, Netanyahu said that while many ask Israel to take confidence building measures toward the Palestinians, the type of incitement being aired in the PA was destroying Israel’s confidence.Netanyahu told his guest that Israel hoped the low-level talks that began this month would continue.“We’re prepared to continue these talks, we hope the Palestinian Authority decides to resume the talks and back away from terror and glorification of killers,” Netanyahu said.A similar message was relayed in a meeting later with visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. At that meeting, Netanyahu said the international community should urge the PA not to form a unity government with Hamas. He also praised President Shimon Peres for saying at the World Economic forum in Davos on Saturday that Turkey was providing Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars.“This is a matter of concern for us,” Netanyahu said.Discussions with both men dealt extensively with the Palestinians.The prime minister told his cabinet earlier in the day that the Palestinians – who want to see Israel present concrete proposals on the border issues – “refuse to even discuss Israel’s security needs.”During the five rounds of talks in Jordan between Molcho and Erekat, Israel presented its overriding principles, the first being that it would not take any steps that endangered its security, according to Israeli officials. What that meant, Molcho said, was that if the Palestinians continued to say that there could not be any IDF presence in the Jordan Valley in a peace deal, that would impact Israel’s ability to show flexibility on the territorial issue.In other words, the more the Palestinians came toward Israel on security issues, the more Israel could be flexible on territorial ones. Israel would not, however, draw a line on a map without first knowing what the security arrangements would be.Another principle Molcho articulated was that wherever the lines will be drawn, the vast majority of the Jewish population beyond the Green Line in the West Bank will be drawn into Israel, and the vast majority of Palestinians will be inside a future Palestinian state.Molcho said that because of the historic, religious and emotive nature of Jerusalem, that issue will have to be dealt with separately.In a related issue, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday for a two-day visit that will take him to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza.He is also scheduled to address the 12th-annual Herzliya Conference on Thursday evening.Diplomatic officials said Ban was not expected to come with any concrete proposal, but rather would be on a fact-finding mission. He visited Lebanon earlier this month.Last week in New York, while announcing the visit, Ban said he would “encourage both sides to re-engage in earnest and create a positive atmosphere for moving forward.”
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