VARIOUS: Palestinian Authority official comments on Israel FM's statement that Annapolis deal is not...
- Title: VARIOUS: Palestinian Authority official comments on Israel FM's statement that Annapolis deal is not obligatory/Political Science expert says meaning of statement unclear
- Date: 2nd April 2009
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEBRON RESIDENT SHABAN AL BAYED SAYING: "There is no Minister or Prime Minister that gets appointed that does not get his hand dirty with Arab blood. This is how the Jews are. For centuries they have been breaking promises. They will not bring anything new, any agreement that they make with any government will fail because no agreements exist for them." HEAD OF CAMEL USED FOR MEAT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEBRON RESIDENT RAED MASWADA SAYING "This is not unusual for a personality like Lieberman, an extremist, this is the least we expect from him. This is not unusual for a personality that is extremist like Lieberman." STREET
- Reuters ID: LVA2L79PNSR85W3P552ZPRA738L9
- Duration: 00:00:41
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: International Relations,Domestic Politics
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Israel's new Foreign Minister angered Palestinians and raised the prospect of tension with Washington by saying on Wednesday (April 1) the government was not bound by a 2007 understanding on establishing a Palestinian state.
On his first day at the Foreign Ministry, right-winger Avigdor Lieberman said the U.S. sponsored Annapolis declaration "has no validity", confirming a shift in stance toward the Palestinians under new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In Ramallah, the Palestinian Minister for planning and International cooperation, Samir Abdullah, said that Lieberman's statement means that the Israeli government will not stick to previous peace agreements.
"This statement means that the new Israeli government will turn it's back to the previous agreements and to the peace process, and to the terms of reference for the whole peace process that started in Madrid in 1991," Abdullah said.
He added that he hopes the United States will intervene by dealing with Israel.
"We are awaiting difficult times with this government and we hope that the international community and all parties which invested in the peace process, and the United States that initiated the Annapolis process and hosted it, should deal with Israel as it dealt with other countries which turned its back to the international legitimacy, and to the will of the international community," said Abdullah.
U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed only last week his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel to help end six decades of conflict in the Middle East.
A Political Science analyst, Gerald Steinberg, told Reuters that the Annapolis process did not lead to any agreement.
"There were no agreements under this Annapolis process. There were principals that were negotiated and agreed upon at the beginning, they didn't lead to anything positive. We just heard from Prime Minister Olmert, when he was leaving office he said 'Six months ago I gave a very generous peace framework to President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and I haven't even received a response.' That's really the broad Israeli attitude, we had elections here and Mr. Lieberman the Foreign Minister has presented his position, starting position and I think that it will be a process of negotiation. There are no International agreements that have been broken, this is not in any way similar to the way Hamas has treated the Oslo framework or other cases like that. This is exactly what democracy is about,"
Steinberg said in an interview in Jerusalem.
He added that it was it was difficult to see what Lieberman was saying.
"It's not clear what Mr. Lieberman meant when he said that he wasn't going to be bound by the framework that the Olmert government accepted in Annapolis. Does he mean that he does not accept a two state solution? I doubt it because Lieberman has said that he is in favour of a two state solution. He has different frameworks that he insists on, or that he sees as the operative framework, we'll have to hear the details when some sort of framework negotiations begin," Steinberg said.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank city of Hebron, residents voiced their concern following Lieberman's statement.
"There is no Minister or Prime Minister that gets appointed that does not get his hand dirty with Arab blood. This is how the Jews are. For centuries they have been breaking promises. They will not bring anything new, any agreement that they make with any government will fail because no agreements exist for them," said Hebron resident Shaban Al Bayed.
Another Hebron resident, Raed Maswada, told Reuters that Lieberman's statement fits his extremist personality.
"This is not unusual for a personality like Lieberman, an extremist, this is the least we expect from him. This is not unusual for a personality that is extremist like Lieberman," Maswada said.
Lieberman, a Soviet immigrant denounced as a racist by many Arabs, also said, however, that Israel was obliged to follow the course charted by the U.S.-backed peace "road map", a 2003 performance-based plan that made the creation of a Palestinian state contingent on the Palestinians reining-in militants.
It also obliged Israel to freeze all settlement activity on Palestinian land.
At a conference in November 2007 hosted at Annapolis, Maryland by Obama's predecessor George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to further "the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine" in negotiations with the Palestinians.
But Lieberman said only Bush's earlier road map, produced in 2003, was binding on Israel -- a distinction in accord with Netanyahu's expected emphasis on curbing violence before trying to conclude negotiations on statehood.
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- Embargoed:17th April 2009 13:00