Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Tzipi Hotovely

Israel is willing to negotiate with the Palestinians but they refuse to come to the table, Deputy Minister Hotovely told EU Representative Mogherini in Jerusalem. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met on Wednesday with European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and reiterated Israel’s commitment to peace negotiations with the Palestinians, while underscoring the Palestinian Authority’s failure to commit to the process.

Hotovely welcomed Mogherini’s interest in hearing both the Israeli and Palestinian stances, saying that her visit to Jerusalem almost immediately after the new government was formed was of “great significance.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been committed to the peace process, said Hotovely, but “the Palestinians abandoned the negotiating table a year and a half ago and left [US Secretary of State] Kerry’s initiative with no response.”

Jerusalem’s message to Ramallah is that the Palestinians must return to the negotiating table rather than taking unilateral steps against Israel in the international arena, the deputy minister clarified.

Mogherini Netanyahu

The EU’s Frederica Mogherini with PM Netanyahu during a previous visit to Israel. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Relating to the terror attack that morning in which an Arab drove into a group of two Israeli policemen in Jerusalem, wounding two, Hotovely demanded that the Palestinians immediately cease terror activity. From the Europeans, she requested support for Israel’s demand that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state and that they condemn terror.

“My very early visit has a political meaning,” Mogherini stated on Monday. “The European Union is ready and willing to play a major role in a relaunching of this [peace] process on the basis of the two-state solution.”

Mogherini received a letter last week from a group of former European political leaders, calling for an “urgent reassessment” of EU policy on diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The letter insisted that Israel “be held to account for its actions in the ‘occupied territories’” and that the EU take an even harsher stance against Israel.

Mogherini, in Israel to promote the peace process, was scheduled to meet Netanyahu later in the day, and with Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday. She will also hold discussions with Palestinian leaders.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel 

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