RAMALLAH, June 8, 2015 (WAFA) – A top Czech diplomat warned Israel of the inevitable international isolation as a result of its unrelenting racist policies and practices against Palestinians and the two-state solution.
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomir Zaoralek was reported in Israeli and Czech media outlets as warning that if Israel continues to obstruct the two-state solution, it will suffer from international isolation and be accused racism, an accusation the Czech would not be able to deny.
Zaoralek was reported in the Israeli news website Walla! as stating that Czech has been working to prevent any political move against Israel, however it has become increasingly difficult to do so under the current Israeli coalition government, which opposes the two-state solution.
The Czech warned that the alternative to the two-state solution would be apartheid.
“We want to avoid initiatives against Israel, but it gets more difficult with the current government and with the opposition against a two-state solution,’ the minister was reported as saying.
The top Czech diplomat urged for the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks based on the two-state solution to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
“The two-state endeavor is about 80 years old…We have seen numerous attempts to bring the idea to life. We have not, however, seen any results,” he was quoted in the Times of Israel.
He said, “We emphasized in the past, and we are pointing out today… the only outcome we envisage is two independent states living side by side in peace and security.”
The Czech Republic is one of the two EU countries that have opposed the United Nations’ recognition of Palestinian state. Recalling this, Zaorálek warned that it would be difficult for his country to always ‘defend’ and vote against any resolutions and initiatives condemning the Israeli occupation.
Zaorálek said, “As your close friend, it is important to the Czech Republic to say that if the situation does not change it will be hard to maintain our position,” reported the Israel National News website.
The top Czech diplomat made his remarks after he visited the Gaza Strip via Beit Hanoun border crossing, also known as Erez, Sunday morning, becoming the first high-ranking Czech official to visit the blockaded strip in the past 15 years at least.
Czech media reported that he was shocked to see houses destroyed by bombs, seriously damaged infrastructure and the harsh social conditions of local Palestinians, but he also saw efforts to restore their a normal livelihood.
“I was naturally shocked by the extent of damage there and the number of collapsed houses. However, the most terrifying for me was to hear how many children suffer from all types of post-traumatic syndrome and how many children have lost their parents and have seen all the awful things,” Zaoralek was reported in the Czech Prague Monitor.
He noted that high unemployment rates and the ongoing Israeli blockade imposed on the strip are major reasons for any future eruption of violence.
“More and more people must feel that they have a normal chance in their lives and that there is no point in resorting to violence,” Zaoralek said.
He was reported as saying that there is no way out of the situation unless the blockade is lifted; stressing that it is in the interest of Israel to change the situation in the Gaza Strip.
While he is ‘in favor of European involvement,’ he also warned that Israel’s policy to support reconstruction of Gaza without a comprehensive political settlement (i.e. peace talks) is problematic.
Zaoralek said that many European countries are worried about investing in economic and humanitarian projects in Gaza without a guarantee of a permanent ceasefire. A new war only means that any progress will eventually be decimated.
‘Without a comprehensive solution, investing in rebuilding now is like throwing money into an open pit,’ he said. ‘This means that all the work done today will be cleared in two years.’
The Czech diplomat said flexibility on both sides is required, including for the Palestinians to find a way to resolve the division between Fatah and Hamas.
Zaorálek is disappointed with the current direction of the government, however, and said ‘the situation deteriorated after the last election.’ He added that the situation is ‘bound to hurt the two-state solution and the peace process.’
Specifically, he said, ‘I feel compelled to talk about it here in Israel – not to create havoc but [to give advice that,] as a friend, I think settlement expansion makes the situation very complicated for us.’