Responds to Kerry: Palestinians, Not Israel, to Blame for Diplomatic Stalemate
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday it is time for
the international community to understand that it is the Palestinian Authority,
and not Israel, who is at fault for the diplomatic stalemate. Netanyahu's
remarks follow criticism of his government's policies by U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry published in the issue of the New Yorker magazine the day before.
"We are besieged with repeated polls in the Palestinian
Authority that about 75 percent of this population rejects the solution of
two states for two peoples and about 80 percent are in favor of continued
stabbings," Netanyahu said in the course of a visit to the Israeli army's
southern command headquarters.
Netanyahu blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for
stirring up animosity towards Israel. In reacting to the polling data, Netanyahu
made reference to Abbas' repeated claims in recent months that Israel is
attempting to violate the status quo at the Al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem's Temple
Mount - a charge that the Israeli government vigorously denies - and that
Israel's killing of stabbing suspects amounts to extra-judicial executions.
"That's not surprising because Abu Mazen [Abbas] is
continuing constantly to stir things up with false propaganda about Al-Aqsa,
false propaganda about executions and by rejecting any genuine attempt at coming
to negotiations," he said.
Some two-thirds of Palestinians living in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip support the use of knives in the current confrontations with
Israelis, back the resignation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and
advocate abandoning the Oslo accords with Israel, which established the
Palestinian Authority, according to the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian
Center for Policy and Survey Research.
On Monday Abbas said returning to negotiations with Israel
needs to be based on clear principles of Israel releasing the fourth round of
long-incarcerated prisoners, freezing settlements, reining in aggressive
settlers and setting a date for establishing a Palestinian state, in addition to
respecting all signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians since 1993.
On Monday, the New Yorker published an interview with Kerry,
in which the secretary of state was cited as saying that the Israeli government
doesn’t know how it wants to solve the conflict with the Palestinians or what
kind of country it wants Israel to become. Does Israel want “to be one big
fortress?” the secretary of state asked.
In the article, Kerry told New Yorker editor David Remnick he
believes Israel is on the road to becoming a binational state, which would be
“an impossible entity to manage.” He added that he fears the
Palestinian Authority will collapse, leaving its 30,000 security personnel to
scatter to the winds, which would result in anarchy and violent clashes with
Israel. The alternative to solving the conflict, Kerry continued, “is you sit
there and things just get worse.”
Nevertheless, Remnick wrote, Kerry's aides said the secretary
of state intends to continue dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until
the end of President Barack Obama's term ends in January 2017.