Yair Lapid with German chancellor Olaf Scholtz
Yair Lapid with German chancellor Olaf ScholtzKobi Gideon

Following Prime Minister Lapid's consultations with German chancellor Olaf Scholtz and other senior officials, a diplomatic source said Lapid is certain that European leaders are pessimistic regarding the outcome of nuclear talks with Iran.

"Some say it is because of the hardening of the American position following discussions with Israeli officials," said the source, noting a similar change in attitude on the part of Iran.

According to the source, Israel presented new evidence to the Europeans regarding the Iranian nuclear program. "We provided them with proof that the Iranians are lying as we speak."

In addition, the source emphasized that the warming of relations between Russia and Iran and the fear that newly-imposed sanctions in wake of the Ukraine war, "will disappear with help from Russia" pushed Europe to harden its stance. In his opinion, the threat of Iranian attack drones being used by Russian troops in Ukraine also contributed to the change in sentiment.

"At the moment there is no progress being made," the source emphasized, "and there will come a moment when we have to say, 'It's over.' And there is no need to announce anything in advance. We do want to push for a strategic dialogue as the next step. We want an agreement, but it must be good [for Israel]. A good agreement can be reached, and if there is a credible military threat, it will bring the Iranians back to the table."

The source noted that Lapid believes that US President Biden is at the "right of the Democratic Party" and that the PA must do more to eradicate violence, especially in the Jenin and Shechem (Nablus) areas, "if it wants to be taken seriously."

"Lapid supports the strengthening of the PA, but they need to do much more to fight terrorism. We asked the Germans today to make this clear to them," said the source, noting the extent of German assistance in PA-controlled territories and Gaza.

The official added that there is no discussion between Israeli officials and their European counterparts where the issue of incitement in PA textbooks goes unmentioned.

The source was asked about Scholtz's opinion regarding PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas's statement that "the Palestinians have lived through a thousand Holocausts."

"The Chancellor is a great friend of Israel, and although he did not respond in real time to Abbas, he did so at a later date and Lapid is aware of this," he noted, adding that, "Lapid also realizes that the comparison between the Holocaust and the Palestinian cause stems from ignorance and while 'we may not be saints, there is no comparison to be made."