French President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed disappointment with Israel’s Middle East policy, suggesting the Tel Aviv government is hindering the peace process.
Sarkozy made the criticism at a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in Elysee Palace two weeks ago, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on its website on Wednesday.
"I’m disappointed with him," he reportedly told Peres referring to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "With the friendship, sympathy and commitment we have toward Israel, we still can’t accept this foot-dragging. I don’t understand where Netanyahu is going or what he wants."
The paper cited anonymous Israeli officials who called the Peres-Sarkozy meeting "very difficult." Sarkozy began criticizing Netanyahu at the start of the discussion and continued for around 15 minutes, the officials explained.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel — viewed as Israel’s staunch supporter in Europe — recently issued a public condemnation of Netanyahu and Israel’s policy regarding the Palestinians.
Given the view of no progress in the long-stalled Palestinian- Israeli peace talks, Italian diplomats say Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s unqualified support for Israel has also begun to shrink.
In Washington, President Barack Obama has vowed to push both parties back to the negotiating table.
"So long as I am president, the United States will never waver in pursuit of a two-state solution that ensures the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians," he told a summit of entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries on Monday.
But Palestinians, along with some analysts, take all this with a grain of skepticism as they see little action, if not none, from the international community to stop Israel from demolishing their homes and replacing them with settlement units.