By: Herb Keinon
Netanyahu brands Abbas’s J’lem comments “junk” and “libelous,” says int’l community should tell PA president to “cut it out.”
Using especially harsh language against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu characterized as “junk” Tuesday Abbas’ charges earlier this week that Israel was undermining the mosques on the Temple Mount.
Netanyahu, in a meeting with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, said that Abbas’ comments were a “complete fabrication,” “libelous,” “potentially incendiary,” and something that could “start a religious war.”
The international community’s message to Abbas, Netanyahu told Store, should be: “cut it out.”
Abbas, speaking Sunday at the “International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem” in Doha, questioned the Jewish connection to Jerusalem while saying that Israel was “using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem.” He also charged that Israel intended to destroy the al-Aksa mosque.
Store was one of two foreign ministers in the capital on Tuesday, the other being Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze. Israeli diplomatic officials said Vashadze’s visit was significant because it signaled a normalization of ties between the two countries following the arrest and sentencing in April in Georgia of two Israeli businessmen – Roni Fuchs and Ze’ev Frenkel — for allegedly bribing the country’s deputy finance minister.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili pardoned the two in November, following seven months during which ties between the two countries were strained.
As soon as Saakashvili pardoned the two, Liberman – in a sign that ties would quickly return to normal – invited Vashadze for a visit.
This is the third high level visit from Georgia in a month, following a visit last week by the Georgian Patriarchate, and in January by the country’s economics minister.
Referring to the failed terrorist attack in Tbilisi earlier this month on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle, Vashadze told his interlocutors in Jerusalem that his country would do everything in its power to provide security for the embassy and Israeli diplomats in Georgia.
Meanwhile, in Norway, the scandal struck government thinks it can throw more money after bad. Also, Støre did not think it was important to participate in the Friends of Syria summit, but was happy for the Danish Foreign Minister to deliver the common Baltic-Nordic proposal on our behalf. If Mr. Støre had wanted to send a signal that Norway is deeply concerned about the tragedy that is going on in Syria, he could have managed his schedule to travel to Tunis and sit next to his Danish colleague as he presented the motion :
Today, Norway has transferred NOK 240 million in budget support to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Norway is among the first donors to transfer contributions for 2012.
– Support is given for the implementation of the Palestinian national development plan, and is an important contribution to the PA to maintain services to the Palestinian population in such areas as education, health and safety, said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in Ramallah today.
After two years of significant financial contributions from the international community and high growth in the Palestinian area, the picture is about to turn, especially in the West Bank. Revenues from taxes are lower than expected and the PA is now facing serious economic challenges.
– I would encourage other donors to disburse their budget support contributions as early as possible in 2012, he said.
The Foreign Minister also stressed that a special responsibility rests on Israel to remove restrictions that prevent the development of the Palestinian private sector and sustainable growth in the Palestinian economy.
– I urge Israel to improve the conditions of the Palestinian wealth creation and open up more Palestinian trade both between the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel and the third countries, he said. He conveyed this message when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.