Better late than never? 'Balfour' British guilt finally surfaces in pro-Palestinian statehood overture

Published October 14th, 2014 - 02:27 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

"This is another echoing failure from [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman. A cold wind is blowing toward Israel from every corner in the world, but they refuse to deal with the hard facts and are bringing a diplomatic storm," he said.

Herzog added that if he were prime minister, he would adopt the Arab Peace Initiative, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suggested on Sunday.

"Netanyahu prefers to confront the whole world, from U.S. President Barac] Obama to other friends, in order to distract the public from his failure in lowering the cost of living and housing," Herzog stated.

MK Nachman Shai (Labor) called the vote "a painful slap in the face.

"The British Parliament's decision following the [statements of] government of Sweden proves that the world is moving toward unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state," he said. "Israel is abandoning the diplomatic arena and is allowing unilateral Palestinian initiatives that will ignore Israel and force the rise of a Palestinian state without a peace agreement and without recognition [of Israel]."

Meanwhile, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta'al) who lobbied British MPs to support Palestinian statehood and attended the vote, said the result is a "yellow card for the Netanyahu government.

"Europe and the International Community are sick of the continued occupation and the futile negotiations and said yes to the right of the Palestinian people to freedom and independence," he stated.

Tibi expressed hope that the vote will bring a wave of support from Europe and lead to the end of the "occupation" and the destruction of settlements.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said the vote will not help the Palestinians have a state.

"This won't work. No Israeli government will accept significant risks in Judea and Samaria without a treaty. The Palestinians are not holding real negotiations and they're losing time," he told Army Radio.

Hanegbi called for the Palestinian leadership to behave like former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and former Jordanian king Hussein and analyze the needs of and risks for each side and reach a compromise.

Ahead of the vote, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said he is more concerned with the "Milky Protest," encouraging Israelis to emigrate to countries with a lower cost of living, than with motions to recognize a Palestinian state in the UK and Sweden.

Shamir speculated about the motivations of the British Parliament, quoting his father, former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, as saying "anti-Semitism is a disease that can't be cured; sometimes it's hidden and sometimes it's seen."

Knesset Land of Israel Caucus leaders MKs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) said the British Parliament turned its back םמ the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the UK's Foreign Secretary committed to creating a Jewish national home in Mandatory Palestine.

They also accused the MPs of turning their back on "the real problems of the world like hunger, diseases, bloody wars and radical Islam.

"The diplomatic attack [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] is leading against Israel in the diplomatic arena is a clear violation of all the agreements that he personally signed," they stated. "The government of Israel must take immediate steps to punish the Palestinians and show Abbas, who continues to sit in his position thanks to Israeli security forces, that he will pay a heavy price for such unilateral acts."

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