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”.