"The Palestinians are only able to debate unilaterally."

(Communicated by the Bureau of Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon)

Today (Sunday 31st July), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon responded to Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat’s rejection of a public debate. Earlier, Ayalon had proposed a public debate on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after Erekat sent out an official press release calling the Deputy Foreign Minister’s recent YouTube video titled The Truth About the West Bank, "a falsified account of history and international law".

"I am more than a little surprised that Erekat rejected my offer of an open and public debate, especially considering he was concerned enough about our video to release a two page official press release" Ayalon said. "Erekat is used to telling the world that Israel’s policies are illegal and against international law and I offered him the chance to back up his own statements and he is proving unable or unwilling to do so."

"Like its diplomatic policies, it appears that the Palestinian Authority is only able to debate unilaterally."

The video released under two weeks ago, has already garnered a quarter of a million views worldwide and is encouraging a debate on the rarely heard Israeli position on the West Bank, settlements and international law.

"Erekat was very quick to react to the video when it was released but now his evasion speaks volumes of a Palestinian Authority political leadership which has hijacked the public debate for too long," Ayalon added. "It demonstrates that their rhetoric is just empty words and slogans and folds like a house of cards once it is tested."

The video that sparked the controversy can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/dannyayalon