Israel’s incoming Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu had better embrace and pursue the “two-state-solution” being promoted by the rest of the world or face the displeasure of the European Union.
Karel Schwarzenberg, foreign minister of the Czech Republic which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said that if the new Israeli government does not commit itself to establishing a Palestinian state, "relations would become very difficult indeed."
"At one of our next ministerial meetings we would have to discuss what consequences the EU would draw from that," he added after he chaired the opening day of a two-day EU foreign ministers meeting.
"Both parties must stick to their commitments from the past: A two-state solution and all agreements reached over the past few years," said Schwarzenberg.
Prior to this stern message, Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu last week said his future government would negotiate peace with the Palestinians, but made no mention of a policy aim long backed by both the United States and Europe. Netanyahu plans to present his new coalition government for parliamentary approval some time this week.
"We Europeans are insisting that whatever the weighting is in the two governments (Israeli and Palestinian), the creation of a two-state solution must stand first and foremost," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
"We should not always have to start from the beginning again -- that is my urgent appeal," he told reporters at talks with EU counterparts in the Czech Republic.
All eyes will be on Barack Obama during his first trip to Europe as President of the United States. Will he re-enforce the EU's warning to Israel?
Schwarzenberg added that Obama's early commitment to the Middle East process and two state solution means "there is real hope for progress in the region."
"Let me say very clearly that the way the European Union will relate to an [Israeli] government that is not committed to a two-state solution will be very, very different," said EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana earlier this month.
The "very, very different" relation he refers to is a change in EU-Israeli trade relations and political ties.
But Israel has already made every effort to strike a deal. It has surrendered control of some of its most sacred and strategic historic sites, allowing the PLO to establish itself as an armed and governmental presence in these territories, offered to place some of its greatest and most sacred national treasures on the negotiating table, and repeatedly taken unprecedented “risks for peace.” Last year, to complicate things even further, the palestinian people democratically elected Hamas, which is listed as foreign terrorist organization by the US Department of State.
No other sovereign nation has been commanded to give up what Israeli's have given up. Hundreds of Jews have been murdered as a direct result of these Israeli efforts. Pray for the peace of the Prince of Peace to be with Jerusalem.