Mogherini to meet Abbas in Brussels Monday : ‘I had from Prime Minister Netanyahu the clear commitment reaffirming that he wants to guarantee the status quo in the holy sites’, says the EU foreign policy chief
Ahead of a meeting Monday in Brussels between Federica Mogherini and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the EU foreign policy chief whom he met Thursday in Berlin that he hopes “for a sense of fairness from Europe to the predicament that Israel faces, a democracy fighting terrorism and incitement.”
“This terrorism is driven by incitement from Hamas, from Islamist group in Israel and I regret to say from the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu said.
“We have to stop terrorism and to stop terrorism we have to stop incitement,” he added.
An Israeli soldier was wounded Friday morning after he was stabbed by a Palestinian in the West Bank. The incident is the latest in a wave of Palestinian attacks during the last three weeks, mainly stabbings, which have killed 11 Israelis and wounded more than 110.
The current wave of violence is considered as a result of Islamism extremism finding expression on social websites like FacebooK.
“I think it’s time for the international community to say clearly to President Abbas. Stop spreading lies about Israel. Lies that Israel wants to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, lies that Israel wants to tear down the Al Aksa Mosque and lies that Israel is executing Palestinians. This all is false,” said Netanyahu.
Mogherini said the EU is willing to help calming down the situation and tackling the situation of the holy sites “seriously and with restraint.” She expressed the need to avoid inflammatory statements and rhetoric, restore security and create on the ground some political horizon.
“Showing leadership and acting with a certain degree of restraint is not only a responsibility the two leaderships have to their own people, but also to the regional and the international communities,” Mogherini said.
In the German capital, the EU foreign policy chief discussed with the Israeli Prime Minister “concrete ways” to deescalate the situation on the ground and to guarantee the status quo in the holy sites. “I had from Prime Minister Netanyahu the clear commitment reaffirming that he wants to guarantee the status quo in the holy sites and this is something I am going to discuss in detail with the Jordanian Foreign Minister in Vienna” as Jordan has a key role to play in guaranteeing the status quo of the holy sites.
Earlier this week, in an interview with German daily newspaper BILD Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, who is in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians, said the EU should stop payments to the Palestinians because of the current brutal wave of terror against Israelis.
“The reason for this terror wave is the incitement and indoctrination of many Palestinians,” Shalom repeated.
“The Palestinians get a lot of money from the EU. That should be stopped as long as the Palestinians do not realize that terrorism is not a way to achieve their political goals,” he added.
He cited the interview on Palestinian television of a four year-old boy who was asked about his career aspirations. “His answer was: engineer. When asked why he wanted to become an engineer, the boy replied, so I can build rockets and thus kill Jews.”
“With how much hate this child must have been already indoctrinated in order to say something like that ?”, asked the minister.
“Our security forces are working with nightly curfews and checks in sensitive areas. But the most important measure must come from the Palestinians themselves: Incitement to murder has to stop”, he said.
“As (Palestinian Authority President) Abbas and the Palestinian media spread absurd lies about the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, there was a huge outcry. Here everyone can assure you that Israel does not alter the status of the Temple Mount and that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not touched.”
“But when a few days ago Palestinians burnt the Joseph Tomb, sacred for the Jews and the Christians, public indignation was barely heard in the world. This is hypocritical,” Shalom said.
Asked if Abbas is still a partner for Israel despite the current situation, Shalom replied: “We are talking with anyone who wants to talk to us because talking is better than fighting. Therefore, Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for us. But the condition is that he stops with incitement.”
He continued, “At the moment, Abbas behaves as before Yasser Arafat did: he talks in English of negotiations and provides simultaneously to the families of terrorists much money. Another example: The Palestinian Lawyers’ Association has recently named a scholarship for a terrorist because he was a law student. This glorification of terrorism must stop.”
Yossi Kuperwasser, a retired brigadier general and former head of the research division in the Israeli Military Intelligence, wrote that Israel must “manage” the conflict until the Palestinians will recognize that the path of terror is ineffective.
“Unfortunately managing the conflict is the only option now. We cannot make peace with those who refuse to recognize us as a people, want to make us disappear from Israel and teach their children that the noblest thing is to kill the Jews,” he said.