Newscaster: IBA’s Elli Wohlgelernter spoke this morning before the vote at the EU Council with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and asked him why a discussion on this issue is happening now.
Deputy FM Danny Ayalon: This is very peculiar, why now they would come up with a statement, which indeed, if it is going to be adopted, it’s one-sided, it’s very biased and it’s not constructive for building trust or building the platform for moving forward. We have always said that in order for the EU to be a serious and a participating partner in any process here, they should be of course impartial. And certainly they cannot prejudge or try to dictate what would be the contours or the conditions or the final status agreements. This is something that we have conveyed to them time and again, and unfortunately to no avail.
Elli Wohlgelernter: If this motion proposal passes, will that automatically disqualify the EU from being involved in any kind of mediation between the two sides?
Deputy FM Danny Ayalon: First of all, we will have to study it, and I want to emphasize the EU as a group, and certainly each of the individual member states are natural friends and allies of Israel, we share with them an ideology, we share with them ideas. They can say anything except to say that this will probably not help bringing the parties together. On the one hand, it may make the Palestinians even more intransigent, as they can rely on such third party statements, and as a result it will make it more difficult for Israel to take and make anymore compromises.
Also, I think it would be very strange if the EU will not really welcome the decision by the cabinet of Israel, the government of Israel to freeze. This is something which is of major importance, and it took a lot of courage and political capital from this government. And if this is not recognized, again, it’s not helpful, it’s not encouraging. There’s another issue, which is the last one I want to make is that also if in this statement of the EU there will not be an unequivocal call for the Palestinians to come forward without preconditions and sit directly with us to negotiate, it’s also something which leaves us with more question marks than anything else.
Elli Wohlgelernter: One of the counter arguments being given is that if this does pass, it will also declare West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, that formal declaration by the EU itself is recognition that Israel’s always wanted, Jews living in the capital, it would allow for embassies to move to Jerusalem. Is there not some value in that as well?
Deputy FM Danny Ayalon: I want to be very consistent with our position, which is we are not going to prejudice the negotiations, we cannot dictate, we will not accept any dictate by any 3rd party or by any negotiating partner. And I think everything should be up for negotiations between the parties directly.
Elli Wohlgelernter: What are the legal and political ramifications if this does pass?
Deputy FM Danny Ayalon: Not really much. If we look at the pattern of statements by the EU for the last 30 or more years, there are many statements which were partial, which were very biased, which were one-sided, which really singled-out Israel, and they have not really made any impact on the ground. And I believe another one-sided statement would join all the many other statements that have not made any impact.