The President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky met with the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. What to expect from this meeting and how it will end – found out journalists of channel 24.
Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time in many years arrived on an official visit to Kyiv, so many believed that it would mean something special for both countries. Is it really so – let’s deal together.
Who is Benjamin Netanyahu?
Israeli politician, Prime Minister of Israel. Was previously Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999. Also headed other ministries in several governments, he was Minister of justice, of Finance, of foreign Affairs.
Netanyahu was born in 1949 in tel Aviv, in the family of a Professor of history. He spent his childhood in Jerusalem. I graduated from the United States. In Israel back in 1967. Mobilized into the IDF, where he worked in the special forces of the General staff. He has a degree of bachelor of architecture and master of science in management from the Massachusetts Institute of technology. At Harvard University, Netanyahu studied political science. As a social activist did a lot of work in the field of combating terrorism.
In 1988, Netanyahu was elected to the Knesset. In 1996, he became the Prime Minister of Israel. According to the press service of the Israeli foreign Ministry, during his tenure, the number of attacks in the country declined sharply. In the government of Ariel Sharon in 2002 was the acting Minister of foreign Affairs, and in 2003 was appointed Finance Minister. The result of the initiated reforms, the annual growth of the gross national product of Israel rose from 1% in 2001-2002 to 4.2% in 2004.
After years of control by the parliamentary opposition, Netanyahu returned as Prime Minister of Israel in 2009. A position he has held until now.
Why pay so much attention to his arrival?
Because this is his first visit in 20 years. During this time in Ukraine there have been visits by the presidents of Israel, Shimon Peres and Reuven Rivlin. But Netanyahu, who is considered one of the few heavyweights of world politics, was in Kiev 20 years ago, during his first Prime Minister’s tenure. Then its in Kiev, attended by President Leonid Kuchma. Therefore, this visit really looks something special.
See the video of the visit to Kyiv of the Prime Minister of Israel:
The media of both countries made a lot of predictions as to why Netanyahu is coming to Ukraine and what this visit would end. He explained that will “discuss with the President of Ukraine completes the creation of a free trade Area, it is close to implementation, agreement on pensions and a number of other topics that will further strengthen the excellent ties between our countries.”
Many assumed that in fact the Israeli Prime Minister aims to maintain power and their position in the coalition, and therefore, this visit is closely linked with the elections in Israel.
Given that September 17th, Israel will hold early parliamentary elections, experts are of the opinion that a visit to Kiev to have a goal first of all receiving votes “Ukrainian street” as it is called in the Promised Land of Israel-immigrants from Ukraine, numbering, according to various estimates, from 500 thousand to 1 million. For Israel it means “a lot”,
– said in one of his blogs, diplomat, Director of Diplomatic Academy, Sergei Korsun.
In addition, according to Korsunsky, Netanyahu definitely interested in the phenomenon of Zelensky’s victory in the presidential elections and the success of his political force in the parliamentary elections, and decided to personally see what is so special is a the Ukrainian President as a politician.
Also, many assumed that during the meeting the sides will discuss the possibility of mediation of Israel in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the transfer of the Ukrainian Embassy from tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
What really spoke to Netanyahu and Zelensky?
The partnership States. After a three-hour meeting, the sides signed bilateral documents with participation of ambassadors. In particular, agreements were signed on cooperation in the fields of sports, education and agriculture. Also signed an agreement to study Hebrew to Ukrainian schools and Ukrainian language in Israel.
Joint briefing Zelensky and Netanyahu: watch the video
At a joint briefing Vladimir Zelensky and Netanyahu sounded themes and arrangements that were discussed during the meeting:
- trade and economic relations between States;
- the extension of the agreement on free trade area;
- the solution with the entry of Ukrainians to the territory of Israel. Zelensky and Netanyahu agreed to resolve the issue with the refusals of visas to Ukrainians to Israel;
- Zelensky called on Israel to recognize the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people;
- Netanyahu was invited by Zelensky to visit Jerusalem;
- the parties discussed an agreement on the opening in Kiev and Jerusalem as centers of high-tech development.
About the component of relations between Ukraine and Israel, if they say it is not public. Which, incidentally, was quite expected. The Director of the Center for middle Eastern studies Ihor semyvolos even before the visit, Netanyahu noted that this forecast is, to put it mildly, somewhat exaggerated. First, Netanyahu has a lot of territorial issues, and he will not interfere in the conflict between States that Israel’s interests has not. Second, the Israeli Prime Minister explained that it is not sufficiently versed in our problems, to undertake mediation.
In addition, the expert on international policy and the Middle East of the Ukrainian Institute of the future Elijah Kusa noted that the number of mediators in resolving the issue of Russian aggression against Ukraine depends nothing.
The question is not that we are bad mediators. They have is France and Germany. And I believe they do their job well. The negotiations are suspended, because none of the parties comes out with their proposals, especially Ukraine. We have over 5 years did not offer anything worthwhile to settle the situation in Donbas. The only initiative which was picked up by the Ukraine – is the issue of deployment of peacekeeping contingent, but this is quickly stopped to discuss
The question of transfer of the Ukrainian Embassy from tel Aviv to Jerusalem publicly, also did not rise is to be expected. Ukraine needs to abide by international law, according to which the capital of Israel is tel Aviv, not Jerusalem. The transfer of the Embassy would mean that Kiev recognize the capital that is Jerusalem. This position, unlike US, do not support the European Union. Therefore, to make such a decision would guarantee Ukraine a lot of misunderstandings with European partners that such a move would not appreciate.
In addition, during a meeting in Kiev, the leaders also discussed the numerous refusals of citizens of Ukraine travelling to Israel. Zelensky and Netanyahu agreed to resolve the issue with the refusals of visas to Ukrainians.
What are the implications of this visit?
Ukraine and Israel remain partners. Here, nothing will change. The expert of the Center for structural politics of “Choice” Lily said Brudnicka channel 24 that serious consequences will be as a visit rather from symbolic.
“At the level of the Ukrainian political elite, it is not excluded that it will be possible to achieve a truce between the, relatively speaking, groups of Poroshenko and Kolomoisky. Don’t forget that Ukraine is a military operation in the Donbas and the supply of lethal weapons from Israel is less traumatic for a society than directly from the United States. That is, there are business interests in the billions of dollars, which, of course, is to discuss. But concrete arrangements should not expect”, – she explained.
A free trade zone between the countries is important. The annual turnover amounts to 1.34 billion dollars. This is mainly grain, ferroalloys, chemical products. Negotiations on the FTA with Israel was intensified in 2015. Only in 2017 were held 11 rounds of talks on this topic. In July 2019 the agreement was ratified by the Ukrainian Parliament.
Today, the two countries agreed on the extension of the agreement and the service sector. The President of Ukraine stressed that the next 5 years Ukraine will grow rapidly, and for that it needs investment and technology. Then he invited Israeli companies to come to work in Ukraine. It is also very important, in connection with the increasingly powerful role growth of the it industry.
In addition, the President of Ukraine stressed that our country will develop in the areas of security and defense of Ukraine on the example of Israel, once again reminding his thesis that Ukrainians “must be the Israelis to protect our land.”
Whether Ukraine can be like Israel?
Maybe, but not worth it. Kusa said that, first, Israel has considerable support, including financial, USA and many countries in Western Europe, particularly the UK. Ukraine this support has not received.
Then let’s talk to the end – to be like Israel, we must violate international law, to be as cynical and pursue only their own interests. Even if I agree with this and, given the current state of Ukraine, we are today the main beneficiaries of the system of international law. The whole foreign policy of Ukraine is based on international law,
– he stressed.
If Ukraine will decide to be like Israel, to get out of a situation of permanent war, when the internal legitimacy of politicians depends on conflicts with neighbors, will be almost impossible. This is not the scenario we need.