(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman attended the annual Association meeting between Israel and the European Union today (22 February) in Brussels. At the meeting, FM Liberman and his counterparts reviewed the relations between Israel and the EU and discussed ways to promote further cooperation between them. The Europeans noted with satisfaction the decision by the Council of Foreign Ministers to begin technical talks with Israel about possibilities for future cooperation. Topics of discussion also included recent developments in the Middle East and their impact on the region, the status of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and Iran.
FM Liberman gave the EU foreign ministers a paper prepared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on "The Palestinian Authority's diplomatic campaign against the State of Israel," which details the PA's activities over the last two years. The paper describes how the Palestinians are brazenly violating the Oslo Accords by attempting to change the status of Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip, inciting against Israel, acting against Israel within the international organizations, organizing boycotts, glorifying suicide terrorists and encouraging terrorism.
In contrast, the paper details the many steps the current Israeli government has taken for the benefit of the Palestinians, starting with Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledging the two-states concept; the considerable improvement and strengthening of the Palestinian economy; the reduction of roadblocks; upgrading of goods crossings; encouragement of Palestinian business activity; increase in the number of Palestinians employed in Israel; promotion of projects in infrastructures, electricity and water; approval of the "Blair package" and security cooperation with the PA.
The paper also describes a series of steps Israel undertook to ease the lives of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: promotion of projects in the fields of health and education, housing, water and sewage, upgrading of the goods crossings, entry permits into Israel for businessmen; increased exports from the Gaza Strip and the "Blair package" to improve infrastructures in the Gaza Strip.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to give this paper to members of the US Congress as well as members of European parliaments.
FM Liberman told his colleagues that since this government took office two years ago, Israel has taken many significant steps to improve the Palestinians' lives and has shown a genuine desire to renew negotiations. During this time, the Palestinians have worked in the opposite direction and have done everything to upset relations between the sides in the belief that this will win them sympathy and support in the international community.
Whoever truly wishes to improve Israeli-Palestinian relations and to bring about a renewal of sincere, effective negotiations between the sides must condemn the Palestinians for their actions and for their brazen violation of agreements signed with Israel and let them know that their attempts to unilaterally establish a fait accompli will not succeed, said Liberman. The international community and the European countries in particular have a responsibility to urge the Palestinians to return to negotiating, rather than encouraging them to continue their provocations, which will only lead to a dead end that will harm the Palestinians more than it will harm Israel.