by Jordana Horn, Jerusalem Post
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad angrily left a UN Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee meeting and canceled a scheduled subsequent press conference with Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon in New York on Tuesday, after Ayalon refused to approve a summary of the meeting which said “two states” but did not include the words “two states for two peoples.”
“What I say is that if the Palestinians are not willing to talk about two states for two peoples, let alone a Jewish state for Israel, then there’s nothing to talk about,” Ayalon told the Post in a telephone interview. “And also, I said if the Palestinians mean, at the end of the process, to have one Palestinian state and one bi-national state, this will not happen.”
When asked if he was surprised by Fayyad’s abrupt exit, Ayalon responded, “Yes, very.”
“I was very surprised that there was apparently no acceptance of the idea of two states for two peoples,” Ayalon told the Post. “I also said that I don’t need the Palestinians to say Israel is a Jewish state in Hebrew. I need them to say it in Arabic to their own people.”
“If the Palestinians think that they can create one Palestinian state and one dual-nationality state, this will not happen,” Ayalon added.
“What will happen next is we’ll see what are the results of the negotiations that are taking place now,” Ayalon told the Post. “But Israel will not accept an all or nothing approach, or any ultimatums or any preconditions.”
The Post spoke to Ayalon following a Clinton Global Initiative program in which Israeli President Shimon Peres and Fayyad participated on a panel, headed by former US President Bill Clinton, discussing the regional economy’s potential in the event peace were to be achieved.
Despite Clinton’s deliberate strategy of avoiding all talk of the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the panel discussion, it did not go unnoticed that Peres and Fayyad, though sitting next to one another, did not shake hands or speak to one another at the panel’s conclusion.
“With all due respect to the Palestinian economy, it all depends on the security situation, and Israel will not gamble on the life of its citizens,” Ayalon told the Post.
“We are very much for improvement of the Palestinian economy, and I recited all the things we have been doing,” Ayalon told the Post, referencing his discussions at the UN meeting, “but I also urged them to fight and eliminate terrorism.”