Dep FM Ayalon on PA negotiator's rejection of a public faceoff: "Palestinians can only debate unilaterally."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/31/2011, 5:17 PM / Last Update: 7/31/2011, 5:50 PM
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon reacted with surprise Sunday to Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat's rejection of a offer to hold a public debate with him.
Last week, Ayalon had proposed a public face-off with Erekat on issues relating to the Israel-PA conflict after Erekat sent out an official press release calling the Ayalon's recent YouTube video – The Truth About the West Bank – "a falsified account of history and international law."
"I am more than a little surprised that Erekat rejected my offer of an open and public debate, especially considering he was concerned enough about our video to release a two page official press release," Ayalon said.
"Erekat is used to telling the world that Israel's policies are illegal and against international law and I offered him the chance to back up his own statements and he is proving unable or unwilling to do so."
"Like its diplomatic policies, it appears that the Palestinian Authority is only able to debate unilaterally."
The video, released under two weeks ago, has already garnered a quarter of a million views worldwide and is encouraging a debate on the rarely heard Israeli position on Judea, Samaria, Jewish communities and international law.
"Erekat was very quick to react to the video when it was released but now his evasion speaks volumes of a Palestinian Authority political leadership which has hijacked the public debate for too long," Ayalon added. "It demonstrates that their rhetoric is just empty words and slogans and folds like a house of cards once it is tested."