Israel Political Brief March 14, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu cancels European trip to France & Spain, citing volatile situation in Israel’s south

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu cancels European trip, citing volatile situation in Israel’s south

The explanation given by Prime Minister’s office is a bit strange, especially in light of the fact that it was released after a renewed ceasefire was announced in the Gaza Strip.

Source: Haaretz, 3-14-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his planned visit to Paris and Madrid, which was on Wednesday, due to the “security situation in southern Israel,” despite the renewed calm in the Gaza Strip.

Attempts at coordinating the visits to France and Spain began after Netanyahu’s return to Israel from the AIPAC conference in Washington. Israeli embassies in Paris and Madrid were asked to inquire whether the Élysée Palace and Spain’s prime minister’s office would allow Netanyahu to visit on March 21 and 22.

Netanyahu and Sarkozy - AP Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Photo by: AP

According to an Israeli official, the Prime Minister’s Office clarified that Netanyahu was interested to discuss the Iran issue with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and newly-elected Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Netanyahu sought to update the two European leaders regarding Israel’s stance, as he did during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama during his Washington trip.

Israeli embassies began making initial contact and received positive responses. Both the French and the Spanish stated that Sarkozy and Rajoy were very interested in meeting Netanyahu….READ MORE

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Avigdor Lieberman: Israel’s Security first, then borders

In Paris, FM says Palestinian state can only be achieved through talks, urges European leaders to reject unilateral statehood bid.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-26-11

Israel must reach an agreement on its security before it can address the issue of permanent borders in negotiations for a twostate solution, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday.

Lieberman spoke during a meeting with his French counterpart, Alain Juppé, in Paris, where he is attending the annual meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development….

Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel unless it halts all Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel has rejected this demand.

In response, Palestinians have threatened to seek recognition of statehood at the United Nations in September.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that if the peace process remains deadlocked, his country would consider supporting the unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood in September….

“We will only examine other options likely to restore political momentum to the peace process if the deadlock situation continues until September 2011,” the representative said.

With respect to the borders of a two-state solution, the representative said that “the 1967 lines must constitute the framework for the negotiations – but this must not exclude the possibility of land swaps agreed by the parties.”
“Regarding the issue of security, the terms of the agreement must not call into question Israel’s security, which is not negotiable. It’s important to put an end to settlement activity and to ensure the sovereignty of the future viable democratic Palestinian state, living in peace alongside Israel,” the French representative said.

But Israel has said that it cannot defend itself within the pre-1967 lines, and has rejected any call to return to them.

The final borders, Lieberman also said, must reflect demographic realities, and the pre-1967 lines were not compatible with Israel’s demographic reality.

He added that in a final-status agreement, the Palestinians must declare an end to the conflict, and an absence of any claims on Israel.

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