vrijdag 5 juni 2009

Regering Netanjahoe: 'Israel deelt Obama's hoop op vrede'

Gemengde reacties vanuit Israel op Obama's speech.

The Jerusalem Post
Jun 4, 2009 14:38 | Updated Jun 4, 2009 23:00
'Israel shares Obama's hope for peace'

The Prime Minister's Office responded to US President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world on Thursday by expressing hope that it would help lead to reconciliation between the Muslim world and Israel.

"The government of Israel expresses hope that President Obama's important speech will lead to a new period of reconciliation between the Arab and Muslim world, and Israel. We share Obama's hope that the American effort will bring about an end to the conflict and to pan-Arab recognition of Israel as the Jewish state.

"Israel is obligated to peace and will do as much as possible to help expand the circle of peace, while taking into consideration our national interests, the foremost of which is security," the statement concluded.

President Shimon Peres praised Obama, saying that his "speech was a speech filled with a vision, [it was] a brave speech which promises hard work for all of the sides involved in advancing the peace process in the Middle East.

"The idea of peace was born in the Middle East and is a basic term [used] in the three monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - and it is up to the children of Abraham to join hands in order to meet the challenge together - sustainable peace in the Middle East."

Meanwhile, politicians across the political spectrum reacted with both praise and condemnation to his words.

"This is a direct, significant and brave appeal, in which President Obama has formulated his vision and the important universal values he wishes to share with the Muslim world," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement from Washington, where he was meeting with Henry Kissinger. "The speech contains reinforcement and encouragement for the moderate and peace-seeking elements, as well as an affront to terror and extremist elements threatening stability in our region and peace in the world.

"We praise the president's commitment to the existence and safety of Israel, as well as his clear call for Israel's integration in the region," Barak said.

"We hope the Arab world will heed President Obama's call to bring an end to terror and violence and establish peaceful ties with Israel. We will act in coordination with the US to promote peace, while emphasizing the safeguarding of Israel's essential security interests," the defense minister concluded.

Other cabinet members had none of Barak's enthusiasm. "Obama ignored the fact that the Palestinians have not abandoned terror," Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Daniel Herschkowitz said during a tour of settlements south of Hebron. "The government of Israel is not America's lackey. The relations with the Americans are based on friendship and not submission, and therefore Israel must tell Obama that stopping natural growth in the settlements is a red line."

Another member of the same party, Zevulun Orlev, also reacted with dismay to the president's comments.

"The speech raises fears and worries about the [fate] of America's balanced relationship towards Israel," he said. "I have a bad feeling ... traditional commitments of the United States towards the security needs which ensure the existence and independence of the state of Israel are being eroded.

"The answer to this is not capitulation or flattery," Orlev continued, "but rather the negotiation" to convince the US of the Israeli position."

In contrast, Kadima MK Ze'ev Boim used the opportunity to both laud the speech and criticize the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

"Obama's speech is further proof that Netanyahu did not properly gauge the policies of the Untied States," he said. "The policies of the president on the Palestinian issue are identical to those of Kadima, and it is unfortunate that Netanyahu is unable to accept the idea of two states for two peoples for narrow political reasons."

Labor rebel MK Eitan Cabel also had words of praise for the president and condemnation for the prime minister.

"The president's words made it very clear that in Washington they are unwilling to turn a blind eye," he said. "Time is working against us, and the Israelis interest of not being a serial rejector means accepting two states for two peoples and stopping construction of settlements."

United Arab List MK Ahmed Tibi said that while he agreed with the speech, there was "no Israeli partner to implement" it.

"Obama presented a new and balanced approach and semantics in his speech, and reiterated that the settlements are not legitimate," he said. "This approach requires active steps that will be the test of his policy."

"His words of praise for Islam are a counterweight to Islamaphobia, and what he said about Palestinian suffering is an important basis for diplomatic progress," Tibi added.

Hadash MK Dov Henin joined Tibi, Cabel, and Boim in their praise of the speech.

"The whole world understands that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential and urgent for security and peace in the entire world," he said. "The time has come for the Israeli public to make its voice heard in a clear way against the refusal of the Netanyahu government to make peace."

Outside of the Knesset, reactions were also mixed. Aliza Herbst, resident and spokeswoman for the Ofra settlement, said that modern history has shown that the Muslim world is at war with the West. She said that Obama's vision of peace sounded nice but was not realistic.

The citizen's committees of Judea and Samaria said the speech was an expression of Israel "paying the price for the defeatism of its leaders."

"Hussein Obama chose to adopt the lying versions of the Arabs, which were always stated persistently and brazenly, over the Jewish truth, which is stated in a weak and stuttering voice," the settlers said in a statement.

It was time for Netanyahu to join the ranks of Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, "arise as a proud Jewish leader and declare that he rejects with repugnance the rewritten history that Obama attempted to dictate today," they said.

AP contributed to this report.

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