Reacting to EU remarks about creating a Palestinian state without Israel’s consent, Tel Aviv claims the EU Foreign Policy Chief made the comments for his own personal gain.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday criticized the European Union’s top diplomat Javier Solana for calling on the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state by a certain deadline even if Israel refuses to do so. According to Lieberman, the EU diplomat made the remarks in an attempt to enhance his own standing before leaving office.
"Every person, before their departure, tries to come out with a few declarations, to be remembered for something, to leave something behind", the Israeli Foreign Minister said.
Lieberman told Israel’s public radio that Solana’s proposal cannot solve the long running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that "a peace agreement can come only following direct negotiations and cannot be imposed".
The Israeli Foreign Minister talks about direct negotiations with the Palestinians while the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, so far, refused to heed international calls for a settlement freeze in the occupied West Bank, which the international community consider to be as one of the main obstacles in resuming peace talks.
Tel Aviv says that it will continue constructing housing units within the existing settlements to meet the needs of its ‘natural growth.’
During his Saturday speech in London, Solana also stressed that the declaration should specify the borders of the Palestinian state, the fate of Palestinian refugees, control over Jerusalem (al-Quds) and security arrangements.
He also said that Israel should return to the borders it maintained before the 1967 Six-Day War, during which it occupied the West Bank and other territories.
The EU, along with the United States, Russia and the United Nations, is part of the Quartet charged with brokering the Middle East peace negotiations.