On the eve of the French foreign minister’s visit to Yerushalayim, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold indicated a possible nuancing of Israel’s opposition to the Paris peace initiative.
While reiterating Israel’s view that the international conference will be counter-productive in lieu of direct talks, Gold indicated that he might tone down his opposition to it under certain circumstances.
“I don’t see in the principles put forward by the French initiative some reference to the Jewish state,” he noted in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
Asked whether the addition of such a clause would lessen Israel’s opposition, he replied: “I think that would be a very important factor. All I’m saying is that there are things missing in this initiative.”
Gold did have more to say, though. “When French diplomats vote for a resolution at UNESCO that rejects the historic Jewish connection to Yerushalayim, it should not come as a surprise that Israel rejects the French initiative and the political horizon it aspires to ultimately expose,” he said.
“It would be much easier for Abbas to come to Yerushalayim to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu, rather than set up this multi-state enterprise in Paris, which I don’t think gets us any closer to a negotiated solution, and in fact makes a negotiated solution more distant,” Gold said.
During the interview, Gold also defended Netanyahu’s recent declaration that Israel intends to remain in the Golan Heights permanently, which drew sharp criticism from the international community, including the U.S.
“Today we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement,” the accord that divided the former Arab territories of the Ottoman Empire.
“But you don’t have to be an international diplomat to imagine that it is very possible that in the basement of one of the chancelleries in Europe or elsewhere, there is a modern Sykes-Picot sitting down and trying to imagine how the Middle East will be divided in the future. Before anybody gets any ideas about the Golan Heights it was important for the prime minister to lay down his claim that the Golan will remain Israeli territory,” Gold said.