FM Levy Meets with President of European Parliament

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
February 21, 2000

Foreign Minister David Levy met this morning (21/2) with the President of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine and updated her regarding the situation of the peace process.

The Foreign Minister referred to the harsh criticism of him which has appeared in the Arab media and said "the comparison to Nazis and Hitler is revolting and causes us to ask ourselves whether the Syrians are truly interested in peace. The Syrians have to do some deep soul searching. Syria will not succeed in weakening Israel with this foul hate-filled wave. If Syria is truly interested in peace, it knows the path. However, those who want peace must also be vigilant about these trends and where they lead."

Regarding the situation in Lebanon, Minister Levy said that Israel has no reason to be in Lebanon except to safeguard its security. Israel could reach peace with Lebanon in a single day if Lebanon was not weak. The situation in south Lebanon is such that the Hizbullah – which is militarily supplied and ideologically supported by Iran – controls an area with the assistance of Syria. "If Syria has chosen peace, how can it leave the fate of peace in the hands of the enemies of peace?", asked the Foreign Minister, adding: "Their goal is to tire Israel so that we will come to the negotiations weakened. This scenario is doomed from the start – Israel is not helpless and not scared. Israel has the military capability to take care of its security and that of its population."

With regard to the situation of the negotiations with the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Levy said that: "The Palestinians need to accept the fact that they also are committed to compromise. Israel has fulfilled all its commitments under the agreement. The Palestinians love to play the role of ‘the weak ones’ and have become accustomed to getting international support because of this. The Framework Agreement was meant to prevent the creation of a vacuum. There must be agreement on the agenda, on which subjects will be discussed and in which areas compromise is possible. Without an agenda, there is a dead-end. I believe that it is possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians this year."