Mark Otte: Not Achieving a Peace Agreement Will Only Benefit Extremists

Al-Hayat al-Jadida

Via Al-Hayat al-Jadida (Translated from Arabic. Click here for original.)
Mark Otte, the EU Special Envoy to the Peace Process in the Middle East, said that the situation resembles the addage "you can bring a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink." Otte spoke with Al-Sharq al-Awsat during the World Economic Forum meetings, which took place in Marrakech in Morocco. Otte said that the negotiations track that was launched on September 2 in the White House started the wrong way because the extension of the freeze in the settlements was forced as a condition.
Otte: "The international community, and especially the U.S., promised, mainly to the Palestinians (around the freezing of building in the settlements), a thing that put a spoke in the negotiation's wheels" and made the situation look like someone "started down the road in a car that doesn't have fuel." Otte admitted that "the Israeli settlements are not only an obstacle for the success of the negotiations and for peace, but they are also not legal according to international law" and that the EU "had convicted it more than once before."
Otte considered Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu's demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state a "political maneuver." He mentioned the necessity of using "the carrot and the stick" in order to reach peace in the Middle East through "finding a suitable format that will combine pressuring the two conflicting sides and encouraging them at the same time." Otte admitted Europe's fearfulness of the consequences of not achieving peace in the Middle East. He mentioned that "those who will benefit from not achieving a peace agreement are the extremists."