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    » 06/18/2009, 00.00

    ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Netanyahu's words only serve Hamas extremism



    For Samir Qumsieh, director of Al-Mahed TV, Netanyahu’s speech “marks the end of the honey moon between the United States and Israel” and a “step backwards compared to what the Pope had to say in the Holy Land”. Victor Batarseh, Bethlehem Mayor, adds that “Netanyahu’s message is a carrot to the US and Europe and a stick to Palestinians”.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - “Netanyahu’s speech puts moderate Palestinians in great difficulty”.  Catholic Christian director of the private TV station Al-Mahed, Samir Qumsieh, is highly critical of the Israeli Prime Minister’s June 15th speech in Bar Ilan University.

    For the editor in chief of Bethlehem’s only Christian TV station “Netanyahu has made too many conditions to really convince that his is in any way interested in a solution between the two peoples, the two states”.  Beyond demanding the recognition of Israel as a Hebrew nation where Palestinian refugees are not welcome, the Israeli premier also required that any future Palestinian state would be without an army or control over airspace.  “It is ridiculous that he demands control over everything, from the borders to water rations, - says Qumsieh - this means they will recognise a Palestinian state only if it is reduced to the role of a banana republic”.  The Palestinians “total rejection” of the Israeli Premier’s speech is hardly surprising.  Even more worrisome, he adds, the more, demands made “pander to the position of the extremists and allow Hamas and Hezbollah gain fresh consensus in public opinion”.

    Qumsieh considers the Bar Ilan University speech to be an “end to the honeymoon between the US and Israel” because it mocks Obama’s slogan of “‘Change we need’”. Netanyahu’s words “are also a backward step compared to those of the Pope during his trip to the Holy Land - says Qumsieh – and the Vatican should concern itself over the shape things are taking.  There is still need for the moral persuasion of the Holy See”.

    The Catholic Mayor of Bethlehem Victor Batarseh, says that “no one in the city was pleased by Netanyahu’s speech because the people here know the truth is far from what he declared; the settlements continue and there will never be two states”.   Bataresh says that the Premiers intervention “increased internal Israeli consensus, with over 70% of the population saying they agree with Netanyahu”, but at the same time it generated deep concern among Palestinians and “must make the international community reflect”.

    The mayor judges the Israeli premiers words as “a carrot to the US and Europe and a stick to Palestinians.  If the US and EU really want peace, then they will have to content themselves with the demands laid down by the Israeli Prime Minister, or else really do something and demand a complete u-turn”.

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    See also

    23/09/2009 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    For Obama talks between Israel and Palestine are urgent, but no one is budging
    Pressures by the US president are not generating any response from Netanyahu or Abbas. Both have domestic problems with allies. West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements remain the hardest obstacle to overcome.

    29/04/2011 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    Hamas-Fatah deal undermines Israeli-Palestinian relations
    Samir Qumsieh, a Catholic journalist based in Bethlehem, sees the proposal as an attempt by Hamas to deal with the fallout from the Syrian crisis. A national unity government would not reconcile the two main Palestinian factions, but would further undermine the prospects for a future Palestinian state.

    11/03/2010 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Possible government crisis if Israel continues settlements in East Jerusalem
    Threats of abandonment of the coalition government by the Labor Party. 1600 new settlements are likely to eliminate forever the possibility that East Jerusalem become the capital of a future Palestinian state. The government of Tel Aviv plans 50 thousand new homes in Arab and nearby areas.

    09/02/2009 ISRAEL
    Election in Israel: fears of a "stiff wind from the right"
    The favorite - narrowly - seems to be Netanyahu. In any case, Likud or Kadima will have to form a coalition with right and ultra-right parties like that of Liebermann. Christians' fears about Shas.

    06/07/2010 ISRAEL - USA
    Netanyahu due to meet with Obama at White House
    On the agenda Iranian nuclear issue and peace talks with the Palestinians. Israel is criticized for its blockade of Gaza and for failing to stop the settlements. New rules on blockade of Strip: Threats from Turkey. Analysts: Iran attack only after a detente in relations with the Palestinians.



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