Ayalon told the Europeans that they should formulate a “Marshall Plan” for the Middle East, to strengthen the moderate forces for change in the region.
(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon completed his diplomatic visit today (March 1) to the European Union institutions in Brussels. Ayalon told the Europeans that they should formulate an international economic, social and political “Marshall Plan” for the Middle East, in order to help the moderate forces for change create a process of democratization and to prevent the pro-Iranian extremists from exploiting the transitional period.
Iran and its satellites are a threat to the reshaping of the Middle East and therefore every effort must be made to stop them. The Iranian model of revolution must not be allowed to repeat itself in the other states in the region. According to Ayalon, the world finally realizes that the central issue in the Middle East is not the Palestinian issue, but rather the dysfunction of the Arab regimes.
Ayalon called on the EU and the Quartet to persuade the Palestinians to return to direct negotiations without preconditions and to avoid unilateral steps. “You pay a billion euros a year out of pocket to the Palestinian Authority, which acts as if all of Europe is in its pocket. You’re paying the piper; you call the tune. If you want to help restart the diplomatic process, you must make clear to the Palestinians that unilateral steps will kill the process and that they must return to direct negotiations.”
Ayalon commented on the attempt of the IHH and others to organize another “aid” convoy, scheduled to depart from Europe around the date of the anniversary of the Mamara incident. He stated that Europe has a responsibility to help stabilize the region and to prevent extremist provocations. He urged the EU to increase the pressure on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit and to immediately stop the rocket attacks on Israel.
Ayalon was speaking to members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. He also delivered a speech at the European Policy Centre (EPC).