PM Barak: Setting target dates does not serve Israel’s interests; Current violence result of conscious decision by other side
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
At the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 3.12.2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak noted that today is the 27th anniversary of the passing of David Ben-Gurion. The Prime Minister said that Ben-Gurion had both outlined a far-reaching vision for the country and led it towards realizing this vision with his strong leadership, efforts to build a strong IDF and ceaseless striving for peace based on a sagacious, determined and responsible pragmatism. "It is proper that Ben-Gurion’s legacy be a guide for future generations; our government will continue acting in the way outlined by the first prime minister."
Prime Minister Barak praised the IDF over the way in which it has dealt with the outbreaks of violence and added that the continuous military activity includes achievements that have not become public knowledge. The Prime Minister took issue with the reports that his conversation with US President Clinton had been difficult and emphasized that the two countries jointly aspire for a reduction in violence and want to examine the chances for resuming the negotiations.
Prime Minister Barak stressed that there is no American plan for resolving the current crisis with the Palestinians and, thus, there is no rejection of such a plan on our part. The Prime Minister pointed out that Israel and the US administration coordinate on a broad range of issues and added that we appreciate very much that President Clinton’s personal commitment to the peace process remains strong.
Prime Minister Barak said that it is not reasonable to assume that the negotiations – if they are opened – will be able to be brought to a close without deep American involvement, but added that, frequently, there are advantages to direct contacts between ourselves and the Palestinians without the presence of a third party.
In response to reports that certain political elements have set a target date for him to achieve an agreement, Prime Minister Barak said that this neither helps us nor serves Israel’s interests. "Any attempt to dictate dates to the Prime Minister disturbs Israel and damages the proper management of the diplomatic process," Prime Minister Barak said.
Prime Minister Barak also criticized those who claim that the policy undertaken at Camp David forestalled the possibility of reaching an agreement. The Prime Minister recalled that the alternative to Camp David was to continue on the path laid out by the previous government, i.e. carrying out the third phase of the withdrawal which could have resulted either in the handing over of large swathes of territory in a way that would please the Palestinians but leave us bereft of assets for the negotiations on the permanent settlement, or in the transfer of a very small parcel of land in a way that would lead to the Palestinians’ initiating a confrontation under international conditions much less favorable to Israel and in the shadow of a severe rift in our people. "The violence now being undertaken by the Palestinians is not the consequence of our approach but stems from a conscious choice by the other side which wants to appear to have attained independence through bloodshed and confrontation. This cannot surprise us and, in the end, stems from the substantial differences between the two sides’ interests," Prime Minister Barak said.
|Outbreak of Violence in Jerusalem and the Territories – Sept/Oct 2000|