Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon tells Palestinian donors conference that future assistance and cooperation with Israel could be severely and irreparably compromised if Palestinians seek statehood.
(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
On Sunday, 18 September, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the Palestinian Donors Conference held at the United Nations that Israel is interested in continuing to assist Palestinian economic development, but this position could be affected if the Palestinians unilaterally declare a state.
"Future assistance and cooperation could be severely and irreparably compromised if the Palestinian leadership continues on its path of essentially acting in contravention of all signed agreements which also regulate existing economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," Ayalon told the conference, which was hosted by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, and chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Ghar Store. The Palestinians were represented by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Ayalon laid out all of Israel’s activities that have assisted the continued growth in Palestinian economy during the past few years, and how cooperation with Israel is essential for the Palestinian Authority’s institution building. However, the Deputy Foreign Minister warned the Palestinians that all of this will be affected by the Palestinian initiative to bypass negotiations and impose their demands on the international community.
"The Palestinian Authority’s path of unilateralism and reneging on its commitments bode extremely ill, not just for a peaceful resolution to our conflict, but the immediate future," Ayalon said. "If the Palestinian Authority is staking a path, not just against its signed commitments, but against the norms and standards of international peace-making, then it will prove very hard for the State of Israel to continue a process abandoned by its partners and co-signatories."
Ayalon also warned that unilaterally declaring statehood will have legal ramifications for any future cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians. "The State of Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which created the Palestinian Authority. Israel will have absolutely no obligations towards a so-called Palestinian state, especially one created artificially in this building, in breach of these very accords," Ayalon told the donors conference.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister also called on the international community to use its influence to call on the Palestinians to refrain from taking unilateral steps damaging for the peace process. "The international community and especially donors to the Palestinian Authority should ask for minimal standards of diplomatic practice by the Palestinians," Ayalon said. "They should do their best to turn the Palestinian leadership away from confrontational and provocative unilateral steps and lead them back to the negotiating table where they will find a waiting Israeli government intent on finding solutions to all the outstanding issues with a view to arriving at a real and lasting end to our conflict."
Ayalon called on the Palestinians to immediately return to the negotiating table: "It is incumbent on the Palestinian leadership to return to the path of negotiation, compromise and cooperation and lead its people towards the goals set by the international community – two states for two peoples solution, living in enduring peace and security."
Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon also called on the international community to demand the immediate release of Gilad Shalit.
Deputy FM Ayalon met earlier in the day at the UN with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, in the presence of Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Ayalon told Pascoe that it was essential not to let the Palestinians turn the UN into a rubber stamp for Abu Mazen’s whims. If the Palestinian plan succeeds, the UN will lose status and its ability to preserve stability and order in the world, Ayalon warned.