Thursday, September 05, 2002

What planet did Per Stig Moeller arrive from? The Danish Foreign Minister is here in Israel to promote the EU's Middle East plan - which calls for immediate declaration of a Palestinian state (without borders), and a full-fledged state by 2005. No strings attached. (report)

Yasser Arafat, who is never averse to getting something without having offer something in return, said "in principle, we accept the ideas you brought. We will study them closely and give our response soon.".

Moeller said he was "encouraged" by Arafat's "positive acceptance of the ideas" - so pleasant for him to deal with someone who will enable the EU to expand its sphere of influence. Moeller said the aim of the plan is "putting the peace process back on track". (a statement which no doubt perplexed most Israelis - a "peace process" demands mutual trust of which there is currently none; and what's "back on track"?

Saeb Erekat said "we have nothing to fear from the European initiative". Of course you don't. The initiative doesn't make any demands on your side (eg. you're not required to arrest Hamas and Fatah operatives).

"We think the [Palestinian] suicide bombers must be stopped, of course, but the answer to that cannot be that you kill civilians," Moeller told reporters. Did reporters ask Moeller why he thought that killing civilians was Israel's "answer to stopping suicide bombers"? Did Moeller reply "I know that Israel doesn't target civilians. But that line just sounded so deliciously glib and snooty that I couldn't resist"?

RibbityFrog responds:

This is not the first time that Moeller has implied that Israel deliberately targets civilians. While visiting the Saudi Prince Amir Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, on 2nd September, just after the spate of civilian killings by the Israeli army, he commented: "These killings might give the impression of a lack of Israeli desire for peace, as well as adding the danger of an Palestinian response in revenge".

Moeller's words are cited here in translation from Arabic from a report appearing in the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar <>. I tried to find the English original but nobody seems to have reported this statement. Note that Israeli killings demonstrate a lack of willingness for peace; Palestinians merely respond in revenge. Who could blame them.

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