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December 13, 2016 2:17 pm

Former High-Ranking Israeli Official: Historic Netanyahu Trip to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan Part of ‘Activist Diplomacy, Diversification of Israel’s Foreign Relations’

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Former Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold. Photo: Facebook.

Former Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold. Photo: Facebook.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been “engaged in activist diplomacy that involves diversifying the country’s foreign relations,” a high-ranking former Israeli official told The Algemeiner on Tuesday, as the premier landed in Baku, the first stop on a historic two-day visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

“As a result” of Netanyahu’s efforts, said former Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, founder and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank, “new diplomatic connections have been established in Africa — and now are being forged in former Soviet Central Asia. In both cases, the prime minister or his representatives have extended these contacts to Muslim states, as well.”

Gold, who traveled to Guinea and accompanied Netanyahu to four other African countries over the summer, explained a key impetus behind the initiative. “Hopefully, in the years ahead, this activist diplomacy will lead to new voting patterns in several international institutions, such as the UN,” he said.

In an on-stage interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg at the 13th Annual Saban Forum in Washington, DC earlier this month, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world…I’ve heard several prominent politicians in Israel sometimes saying, ‘Well, the Arab world’s in a different place now. We just have to reach out to them, and…then we’ll deal with the Palestinians. No. No, no and no. There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and without the Palestinian peace.”

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When asked about this, Gold said, “Israel has its own interest in dealing with the Palestinian issue, but it doesn’t have to be a prerequisite for all of its international diplomacy.” Furthermore, he added, “States are ultimately motivated by their national interest, and Israel is able to address the economic and security concerns of many countries today. While in parts of the Arab world, the Palestinian issue is still extremely salient, elsewhere it is far less of a front-burner issue. And though these countries perhaps prefer more subtle connections with Israel, they want these connections nevertheless.”

Gold concluded: “There is a new world emerging today, and not everyone is aware of its implications.”

In an interview with The Algemeiner in October, Gold said that though the adoption by UNESCO of a resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem caused many people to question the value of Israel’s new diplomacy, “such an attitude does not recognize the important advances that have already been made. The total number of states abstaining and voting against the resolution was greater than the number of states that actually supported it. It is important to remember that changes in UN voting will take time, and no one should look for instant gratification in this area.”

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