Knesset Speaker Slams EU Opposition to Trump Peace Plan on Visit to Germany
The speaker of Israel’s parliament strongly criticized the European Union’s opposition to US President Donald Trump’s recently-unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan during a visit to Germany on Monday.
In an interview with the Frankfürter Allgemeine Zeitung, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein labeled as “unfortunate” the forthright statement condemning the Trump plan that was issued last week by Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Borell’s Feb. 4 statement charged that the US proposal “departs from…internationally-agreed parameters” for a resolution of the longstanding conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
In the same interview, Edelstein expressed approval that an attempt to unite EU members in a statement of opposition to the plan was scuppered by the efforts of Central and Eastern European countries.
Lauding the Trump initiative, Edelstein told the German news outlet that “unlike in the past,” the latest US proposal did not oblige Israel to make only concessions in return for peace.
“All previous plans were based on the idea that if Israel gave everything, the Jewish state would not be condemned before the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” Edelstein argued. “Now things have changed for the better, and the starting point is that Israel is not the culprit.”
At the same time, Edelstein was critical of certain key aspects of the plan. “There are elements of this plan that I do not like too much, such as the creation of a Palestinian state,” he said. “Even this simple declaration is not productive, because it gives a signal to the Palestinians that they can win a state without even negotiating.”
Edelstein added that Israel would nonetheless “use this plan as a basis for negotiations because it is the best that has ever been developed.” But, he continued, “the essential question will invariably remain the same: ‘Is there a Palestinian leader who will recognize a Jewish state?’ They never recognized any right of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Never. Not even during the Oslo Accords.”
Edelstein met with several German leaders on Monday, including President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the chairwoman of the governing CDU Party, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Following his meeting with Steinmeier, Edelstein tweeted his gratitude for the German president’s widely-praised speech on Jan. 23 at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust.
The Knesset speaker added his hope that recent decisions by Germany’s parliament countering both the BDS campaign against Israel and the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah would “serve as an example to other countries in the world.”
התחלתי היום את ביקורי הרשמי בגרמניה. נפגשתי עם הנשיא שטיינמאייר והודתי לו על נאומו יוצא הדופן ביד ושם, ועל עמידתה האיתנה של גרמניה לצידנו במאבק באנטישמיות, על כל צורותיה. אני מקווה כי החלטות הבונדסטאג האחרונות ביחס ל-BDS וארגון הטרור חיזבאללה ישמשו דוגמה למדינות נוספות בעולם pic.twitter.com/GOzli1EmkY
— Yuli Edelstein 🇮🇱 (@YuliEdelstein) February 10, 2020