(I translate here his interview today with a French newspaper)
Robin Shepherd Online
20 February '10
In an interview with the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner outlines his views on the Dubai assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. He also talks about the desirability of Europe and the international community recognising a Palestinian state regardless of whether Israel gives its consent and even before agreement has been reached on the state’s borders.
I offer my translation from the original French of those parts of the interview which deal with Israel and make some comments of my own below it. I submit that both the questions and the answers provide stark illustration of many of the guiding assumptions of French policy in the Middle East.
Here is my translation with the headline and the questions in bold:
Kouchner: “A Palestinian state, quickly”
Is Israel a rogue state that uses the passports of friendly countries to execute its enemies?
We condemn targeted assassinations and the use of forgeries. The agents [who killed al-Mabhouh] did not, contrary to the situation with the Brits, steal the identities of our nationals but they did use a false French passport and a false name. We condemn this unreservedly.
Where could this crisis between Europe and Israel lead?
What needs to happen to get beyond this crisis is to affirm the political role of Europe in quickly laying down the conditions for the peace process and the creation of a Palestinian state. To receive Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom I will be dining on Sunday, is to support a man who holds the keys to the two state solution. The question of the moment is the construction of a new reality: France is training Palestinian police officers, enterprises are investing in the West Bank…Further, one could envisage the speedy proclamation of a Palestinian state and its immediate recognition by the international community even before negotiations on its borders. I would be glad to see this happen. However, I am not confident that other European countries would follow me on this, and I’m not even confident I’d be right. [NB: This last bit does not appear to make much sense in French either.]
Does this affair [the assassination in Dubai] tell us something about the kind of country Israel is becoming?
It tells us of the immediate necessity for peace and a Palestinian state. An Israel living in peace will fully rediscover the values on which it was founded and for the sake of which we support its security and its existence — for which we support Israel itself.
The interview then trails off into other subjects. So, here are some thoughts on what Kouchner said:
(Read full article)
Who firebombs a grave?
16 hours ago