Minister of Internal Affairs Gideon Sa'ar has stated in a Likud party meeting today (Monday) that he does not believe that the Palestinian Authority has entered into negotiations with Israel in good faith. US Secretary General John Kerry is scheduled to meet with both Palestinian Authority and Israeli representatives this week in anticipation of resuming peace negotiations after a three-year hiatus which began in July 2010.
Sa'ar referenced the warning made by South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkaona-Mashabane on Friday to Palestinian Arab leaders not to engage in formal meetings with Israel government officials, after South African officials have decided to avoid visiting Israel. The Foreign Minister headed a pro-Palestinian rally at Robben Island, the former imprisonment site of anti-apartheid leader and national hero Nelson Mandela, in support of releasing some 5,000 additional convicted Palestinian terrorists onto Israeli soil.
The remarks were so anti-Israel that MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu), who heads the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has accused the country of "classic anti-Semitism", and warned Jews still living in the African nation that a Pogrom is only "a matter of time."
Sa'ar warned that the South African developments indicate a distinct rise in Palestinian Arab efforts to rally international support for anti-Israel campaigns, especially the infamous Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Sa'ar stated that these tactics ensure that Palestinian Authority representatives have external support systems in place in the event that the negotiations fail; while change might not be enacted from within the international legal and political framework, Palestinian Arabs hope to force Israel's hand using unconventional pressure tactics.
Sa'ar clarified the importance for the State of Israel to declare now that it will not accept external pressure, and that attempts to internationalize the conflict and bypass negotiations are doomed to fail.
In response, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu confirmed that "we will not accept external pressure. [International] pressure will not help."