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    Entries in netanyahu (5)


    The Palestinian Lie


    West Doesn't Support Palestinian Preconditions for Talks - Guy Bechor

    The Palestinian Authority is starting to be portrayed as the side against peace. Two moves by Netanyahu managed to change the picture: First, his willingness to endorse a Palestinian state, and then the temporary settlement freeze. Israel made a move, so why is Abbas refusing to negotiate? He is being asked this by world leaders at a time when his PA continues to incite against Israel.
        While Israel is ready for negotiations, here and now, the Palestinians are presenting preconditions and are losing the West's support. Preconditions for talks with Israel? As if we never had Oslo, mutual recognition, and signed agreements?
        The Palestinians failed to realize that hatred for Israel does not equal sympathy for the Palestinians. They confused anti-Israel sentiments with pro-Palestinian sentiments. They failed to understand that many in the world hate Israel, but are using the Palestinians as the fig leaf for this hatred. The Obama administration is increasingly having reservations about them. (Ynet News)


    Netanyahu Says Iranian Leaders Losing Support

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel had benefited from what he called the Iranian government's loss of legitimacy, both among other states and with its own people.

    Speaking to a closed session of the parliamentary defence committee, as quoted by an official, Netanyahu repeated his view that Israel must prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons but gave no indication of if or when Israel might use military force -- an option his government has refused to rule out.

    However, on a day of clashes between protesters and police in Tehran, and a week after Iran defied international pressure and announced an expansion of a nuclear programme it says is for purely civil use, Netanyahu told Israeli lawmakers that the Iranian government was losing support at home and abroad.

    "During the past year, Iran has lost a lot of legitimacy in the international community. This is an important asset to Israel," Netanyahu was quoted as saying by a parliamentary official. "Much of the Iranian population has animosity towards the regime."

    The United States and its allies suspect Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy programme. Tehran denies this.

    Many analysts take seriously the possibility that Israel, assumed to be the only nuclear military power in the Middle East, might at some stage consider launching a unilateral strike to prevent Iran acquiring a bomb, a prospect the Jewish state sees as an existential threat.


    Netanyahu said on Monday it was in Israel's "supreme interest to prevent Iran from arming with nuclear weapons."

    But his government also appears keen not to break step with key ally the United States and other world powers, which are seeking to persuade Tehran to curb the military potential of its nuclear programme by means of diplomacy and economic sanctions.

    Should such diplomatic pressure weaken Iranian leaders, analysts say, that could reduce the chance of attacks on Iran.

    Political sources have indicated Israel's armed forces have prepared plans for a possible strike on Iran, but analysts believe Netanyahu is content for now to follow the U.S. policy.

    Earlier on Monday, an Israeli military intelligence officer also briefed the parliamentary defence committee on Iran.

    Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz was quoted by a parliamentary official as saying that Iran had the nuclear know-how and the material, as well as the long-range missile technology, to build nuclear missiles to threaten Israel.

    Echoing opinions expressed by Western experts, Baidatz said: "They have passed the technological stage. What now separates them from a (nuclear) bomb is taking the decision to build one."

    On Monday, Netanyahu also reiterated Israel was prepared to hold peace talks with Syria, an ally of Iran on Israel's border, on condition Damascus did not insist the Jewish state concede beforehand that it would withdraw from all the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured in a 1967 war.

    Syria has signalled it would prefer to hold indirect talks, including the possible resumption of talks mediated by Turkey a year ago. Netanyahu said he preferred a French offer to mediate to that from Turkey, citing Istanbul's criticism of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, notably in last winter's war in Gaza.


    Israel rejects plan to divide Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM — Israel's foreign ministry said today that a Swedish-led push for the European Union to call for the division of Jerusalem and the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state would trip up Europe's own efforts to play a role in Middle East peacemaking.

    "We would like to see the Europeans more involved and playing a role," but it will be more difficult for them to do so if they press ahead, says Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. "The Swedish initiative does not contribute to promoting the peace process, and all it can do is to marginalize the European role."

    "It will only convince the Palestinians that they can remain the trenches," he adds.

    Israeli diplomats have been working overtime across Europe to stop the document from being adopted when European foreign ministers meet Dec. 7 to set a Middle East policy statement.

    Greater European role
    Several individual European countries have taken a more active role in the peace process in recent weeks. France's Nicolas Sarkozy has been facilitating Israeli-Syrian communication, and German mediators are playing a role in negotiations over a prisoner deal, in which Israel would win the release of its captive soldier, Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who has been held for more than three years by Hamas, in exchange for up to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

    But European policy as a whole has been more of a concern, Israeli officials say. Sweden is at the forefront because it holds the rotating EU presidency through January. Relations between Jerusalem and Stockholm have been chilly since a Swedish tabloid ran a report in August suggesting that the IDF [the Israel Defense Forces] harvested organs from Palestinians held in Israeli custody. Israeli officials asked that the Swedish government officially publicly criticize the sensationalist report, but it declined to do so.

    More recently, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt canceled a planned trip to Israel, Israel's foreign ministry announced over the weekend, apparently due to reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might refuse to meet with him.

    Israel: Swedish draft one-sided
    Quotes from the draft under Sweden's authorship have been sourced by the Israeli press, but no official copy is being provided because it is an internal document, an official at the Swedish embassy in Tel Aviv told the Monitor.

    "We see no reason to comment on an internal draft document. And if there is a comment to be made, it will be made on behalf of the 27 member states and not just Sweden," says Annika Ben David, counsellor at the Swedish Embassy to Israel.

    Israel's problem with the draft is that it is one-sided, a senior Israeli official says.

    "If Europe is thinking of going public on what is final status, why only support one side of the issue?" The official continues, "If you say in your position paper that Israel will have to compromise on Jerusalem, why not come out publicly and say what the Palestinians will have to compromise on? Why not say that Palestinian refugees will have to go back to the state of Palestine, not Israel?"

    EU official: Support for Palestinians
    One European official in Tel Aviv, speaking on background, says that the EU position on Jerusalem does not represent a radical change, but is rather an attempt to show the Palestinians that they have international support for their claim to East Jerusalem as their future capital. In so doing, they hoped to draw Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table, despite the fact that the settlement freeze that Netanyahu announced last week did not include East Jerusalem - a prerequisite to peace talks that Mr. Abbas has insisted on.

    "This might be a way to encourage the Palestinians to enter the negotiating process," said the European official. "But I don't think Europe is interested in the recognition of a Palestinian state now, ahead of negotiations. It's more saying, if and when it comes to it, we will recognized East Jerusalem as a capital of a Palestinian state."



    Israel Keeps Giving-No positive response from the Palestinians

    The decision to halt residential construction in the settlements and the deal being formulated with Hamas have one thing in common: In both cases the Israeli side gives something and doesn’t get anything in return, or alternately, gets much less.


    The decision passed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the cabinet Wednesday regarding the halt of construction in Judea and Samaria was supposed to prompt an immediate response by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in respect to a Palestinian return to the negotiations table.

    However a senior official on the Palestinian side was quick to dismiss the Israeli gesture and announced: “We have no intention whatsoever to renew our talks with Netanyahu.”

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