PM Benjamin Netanyahu tells Italian President Sergio Mattarellan the conflict isn’t about settlements, it “was and is about the Jewish state, and unless and until our Palestinian neighbors face this, confront these demons, give up the ghost of trying to destroy the Jewish State by this or that means, peace will be harder to achieve.”
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
The Palestinians must exorcise the “demon” of wanting to destroy the Jewish state Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella when the two met in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.
“I [have] turned not only to Hamas, but to President Abbas, and I said, ‘Would you recognize a Jewish state, assuming we solve the settlement problem?’” Netanyahu said.
“And they won’t, because the real settlement issues are the settlements of Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, Akko,” Netanyahu said.
He added that Mattarella had met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas just the day before.
Netanyahu assured Mattarella, that like his predecessors, he would support the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognized Israel was a Jewish state.
The conflict, he said, “was and is about the Jewish state, and unless and until our Palestinian neighbors face this, confront these demons, give up the ghost of trying to destroy the Jewish state by this or that means, peace will be harder to achieve.”
This conflict is not and never was about a Palestinian state, which successive Israeli governments, including this prime minister, is willing to arrange – a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. This conflict was never about the Palestinian state. It was and is about the Jewish state, and unless and until our Palestinian neighbors face this, confront these demons, give up the ghost of trying to destroy the Jewish state by this or that means, peace will be harder to achieve. Denying our history is one of the means of denying the Jewish state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
He explained that he saw the Palestinian drive to pass resolutions at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as part of its refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state.
“Denying our history is one of the means of denying the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said of UNESCO’s Jerusalem resolutions that refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim names of Al Haram Al Sharif.
Netanyahu said that fortunately perceptions had shifted in several countries in the Arab world who no longer viewed Israel as an enemy, but as their ally, even a vital ally in fighting against Islamic terrorism.”
This could serve as the basis for peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu’s remarks came in reference to the fierce opposition of Sunni-led states, such as Saudi Arabia, in the face of Iran and the fundamentalist terror group Islamic State.
“A broader rapprochement with the Arab world would bring peace with the Palestinians,” he said.
“Israel’s hand is extended to peace for all those who want to make peace with it,” he added.
On Tuesday, in Bethlehem Abbas said that key to peace was an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 line during his meeting with Mattarella.
According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas said, “We reiterate here that peace is our strategic goal and is in the interest of all parties,” said Abbas. “The key to peace is in ending the Israeli occupation and in lifting the injustice faced by our people so that the two states, Palestine and Israel, can live in security, stability, peace and good neighborly relations.”
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READ PM Netanyahu’s statement in its entirety here:
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