In what appears to be an orchestrated move, European leaders are flocking to Israel in the hope that creating enough pressure will result in a new round of peace talks.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Israel on Sunday for discussions with Israeli leaders on the prospects of jump-starting the stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Steinmeier is the second European diplomat to visit Israel for this purpose within a week and a half, following the visit on May 20 by European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. In what appears to be an orchestrated move, the Europeans hope to generate enough pressure on Israel to move in a direction in which it does not necessarily want to go, and further European visits are expected in the near future.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday morning with Stenmeier and thanked Germany at the end of their meeting for its support of Israel. “Germany has shown a genuine commitment to Israel’s security, and Germany manifests this commitment in word and deed. Israel deeply appreciates this commitment,” he said.
“I think the only way to move is through direct negotiations,” stated Netanyahu in relation to the diplomatic process. “Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has moved away from these negotiations, but I remain committed to the idea that the only way we can achieve a lasting peace is through the concept of two states for two peoples – a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish nation-state of Israel.”
Israel has made some confidence building measures, including the flow of up to 800 trucks a day with construction and humanitarian assistance to Gaza.
However, Netanyahu expressed regret that at the same time that Israel was pursuing venues to peace, the Palestinian Authority sought to suspend Israel from international soccer events, which he termed a “provocative and unwarranted” move.
“The Palestinians must stop their campaign to delegitimize Israel,” he declared.
“Tell them to get back to the negotiating table; tell them that we should negotiate without preconditions: tell that we need to advance a program that gives a better life for both of us, and a measure of security in the swirling sands of the Middle East,” Netanyahu told Steinmeier, who is also scheduled to meet with the Palestinian leadership.
Referring to Iran’s support of regional and international terror and its military build-up, Netanyahu said: “This is what Iran is doing today without nuclear weapons. What a threat Iran will be when it has a clear path to the bomb.”
A nuclear deal with Iran would give the Islamic Republic billions of dollars to finance its terror networks and possibly develop a bomb, regardless of an agreement, and therefore, “there’s a need to hold out for a better deal, to use biting sanctions that have proved effective,” the prime minister explained.
This [Iran’s nuclear program] is a source of great concern for us,” he stated. “The survival of Israel is non-negotiable. No matter what deal is struck, we will not allow Iran to endanger the survival and the future of the State of Israel.”
No Need for European Pressure
Steinmeier also met with President Reuven Rivlin, who stated: “We do not need to be pressured; the need to rebuild Gaza and the renewal of direct negotiations is very clear to us. The Palestinians’ unilateral actions, as we saw, for example, on Friday in Zurich, are unnecessary and a bizarre twist on history – that the successors of those who murdered athletes in Munich should now be promoting a boycott of Israel goes against the ideas of humanity and justice.”