FM Levy Meets British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
March 1, 2000

Foreign Minister David Levy met yesterday (29 Feb.) in Jerusalem with the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson. During the meeting, the Foreign Minister stated that the Palestinian Authority has recently released Hamas activists from their prisons and that whenever there are misunderstandings between Israel and the PA, we hear about very dangerous Palestinian elements who have ‘suddenly’ escaped from Palestinian prisons…

Minister Levy noted that in the autonomous areas, a terrorist infrastructure continues to operate "like an inactive volcano in danger of erupting." Mr. Levy added that almost every day attempts to place bombs are averted and that Israel recently caught a group active in the areas under Palestinian control.

Foreign Minister Levy explained that incitement against the Jewish state continues in Palestinian schools, while Israeli flags and pictures of Prime Minister Barak are burned during demonstrations in the territories. Referring to the negotiations in the Palestinian track, Levy said that the PA tried to damage the credibility of the Prime Minister with its delay in arriving at a framework agreement on the final status negotiations that had been planned for mid-February. The Foreign Minister emphasized that despite the difficulties Israel will continue with the peace process, and is determined to do so since we believe that there is no alternative.

Commenting on the Palestinian leadership, Minister Levy stated that all leaders have the same obligations, they must make painful and responsible decisions and they must accept the need to compromise.

Concluding his statements, the Foreign Minister said that the Palestinians must not expect that someone else will do the work for them, adding: "They are sticking to a dual track approach to Israel – they conduct negotiations to achieve their desires, while at the same time are carrying out a diplomatic war on every international stage. The language of peace is essential because that is the message which leaders project to their people. Leaders who use hate-filled, accusatory language constitute a destructive force."