Israel a burden on its allies, Turkish president Gül says

November 23, 2011, Wednesday/ 15:40:00

President Abdullah Gül criticized Israel on Wednesday, saying its “insincere” commitment to peace in the Middle East has alienated even allies of the Jewish state.

Gül, speaking at a British think-tank during an official visit to Britain, said Israel has become a burden on its allies because of its current policies, lamenting that it builds houses in East Jerusalem despite promises that it is committed to peace with Palestinians. “Maybe not everyone says openly what they think, but you can hear it when microphones are accidentally left on,” he said, apparently referring to a recent conversation between US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy during which the French leader called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “liar.”

“I can’t stand him anymore, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy said. “You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day,” Obama replied. The exchange, overheard by journalists, took place during a G-20 summit in Paris earlier this month.

Gül said Israel must analyze the new situation in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions and called on the Jewish state to avoid policies that would antagonize neighboring Arab countries. “A suppressed anger is surfacing. Therefore, Israel should really adopt a strategic stance and agree on a return to the 1967 borders,” he said, referring to the boundaries that existed before a 1967 war Israel fought against several Arab states.

Gül also criticized Israeli domestic policies as “weird,” saying a 3 percent election threshold allows too many parties into parliament, making the country “ungovernable.”

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