Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is often accused of diplomatic incompetence. And if you think the goal of diplomacy is to be loved, it’s hard to dispute this: Netanyahu is loathed by leaders worldwide.
But if you think the goal of diplomacy is to get other countries to adopt your country’s positions, then Netanyahu has had some surprising successes recently.
In July, France became the first European country to publicly adopt a position every Israeli government has deemed essential for Israeli-Palestinian peace, but which Europe consistently refused to endorse: that any agreement must result in “two nation-states,” including “the nation-state of Israel for the Jewish people.”
And last week, one of the most pro-Palestinian countries in Europe not only followed suit, but broke new ground. Addressing the UN General Assembly on Saturday, Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez first declared Spain’s “commitment” to Israel as “a homeland of the Jewish people” – a position Madrid opposed as recently as July.
Then she added something that, again, all Israeli governments have deemed essential for peace, but Europe has never been willing to state openly: Any solution to the Palestinian refugee problem must “be just and agreed,” while also “allowing the preservation of Israel’s current character.” In other words, the Palestinian goal of relocating the refugees to Israel is out.
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