Israel has thanked Canada for being a ‘true friend‘ after the Canadians stood up for Israel at the G8 in Deauville, France on Friday and prevented the adoption of a resolution referring to the ‘1967 lines.’
At a briefing ahead of the upcoming G8 summit in France, federal officials said the basis for the negotiations must be mutually agreed upon Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman phoned Canada’s new Foreign Minister John Baird over the weekend to thank him for Ottawa’s position at the Group of Eight meeting in France that led to the softening of a statement on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the elimination of a reference to the 1967 lines.
Canada was a “true friend of Israel,” and through a correct reading of the situation understand that the 1967 lines were incompatible with both defensible borders for Israel and demographic realities, Lieberman said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had insisted that no mention of the 1967 lines be made in the leaders’ final communiqué, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention, diplomats said on Friday.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Harper by phone from Washington last week, Israeli officials said. Netanyahu had originally hoped to stop in Canada on his way back from the US, but was unable to do so because of scheduling conflicts.
“The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week,” one European diplomat said of Harper’s position.
In the final communiqué, the leaders called for the immediate resumption of peace talks, but did not mention the 1967 lines.
“Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict,” the communiqué said. “The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final-status issues. To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011.”
The Canadians said that if you’re going to specifically cite the ‘1967 lines’ you also have to cite other parts of the speech such as that one of the two states be a Jewish state, and that the ‘Palestinian state’ be demilitarized.
By the way, Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Harper to thwart the mention of the ‘1967 lines,’ but Prime Minister Harper’s office is denying that report.
Stephen Harper’s spokesman is denying a report that Israel’s prime minister specifically asked Canada to thwart G8 support for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.
A report published by Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Sunday quoted a senior Israeli official saying Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Harper two days before the Group of Eight leaders met, and asked the prime minister to prevent the G8 from supporting the border proposal outlined in a statement by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Harper’s spokesman Dimitri Soudas told The Canadian Press Sunday that there was no G8 discussion with Netanyahu.
“The prime minister’s views are long-standing and well known on the Middle East process towards a two state solution,” Soudas said. “It’s important that any statement on the Middle East always have balanced references to the various positions and the G8 statement is a balanced statement.”
According to Haaretz however, Netanyahu told Harper that mentioning the border issue would be detrimental to Israeli interests and a reward to the Palestinians.
As the summit wrapped, European diplomats told reporters the omission of the Obama border proposal from the G8 statement was brought about because of objections from Canada.
Harper neither confirmed nor denied that report at the time. He told reporters that while he broadly supported the theme of Obama’s speech, bits of it could not be cherry-picked as the basis for a peace deal.
Poor Israeli media. Poor Tzipi Livni. There’s someone else aside from Israel who doesn’t accept the ’67 borders.’
Eight years ago I would of not expected this from Canada. Our understanding is that they were more LIBERAL then we are (considering what the politics of LIBERALISM is these days), but for most of Canada LIBERAL still means protecting those that are bullied.