Despite Abbas’ venomous accusations against Israel at the UN, Netanyahu invited the Palestinian leader to address the Knesset and for direct peace negotiations.
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday not long after Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas had his turn, using the opportunity to slam the Jewish state, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited the PA leader to address Israel’s parliament.
In return, Netanyahu added, he would be willing to address the Palestinian Legislative Council.
“Wouldn’t it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another? President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.”
“I am ready to negotiate all final status, but one thing I will never negotiate is the right to a one and only Jewish state,” Netanyahu stated.
The Palestinians have rebuffed Netanyahu’s past offers for meetings, saying there ws no point given what they allege are his hardline positions on all core issues.
Abbas called on the 193-member world body to exert greater effort than at any time in the past to establish an independent Palestinian state, as the 50th anniversary of Israel’s “abhorrent occupation” approaches in June 2017.
He also called on the U.N. to declare 2017 “the international year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people.”
In fact, before the 1967 Six Day War, Jordan was in control of eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Threatened with annihilation by the surrounding Arab countries, Israel won an astounding victory and captured the territory, which never was “Palestinian.”
Abbas claimed that his “hand remains outstretched for making peace,” but he questioned whether any Israeli leader was ever ready to make “a true peace … that will abandon the mentality of hegemony, expansionism and colonization.”
Abbas also accused Israel of “continuing to evade” an international conference that France wants to hold before the end of the year in order to focus on a framework and timeline for ending the “occupation.”
Refusing to accept preconditions to direct negotiations, Netanyahu responded to Abbas’ allegations, saying, “You have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred, as you did today. Or you can confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two nations.”
The “core of the conflict,” Netanyahu stated, is the “persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state within any boundary…
“The conflict is not about the settlements. It never was,” he stated. “If the Arabs had said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would be no war, no refugees, no conflict. And when they finally say yes to a Jewish State, we’ll be able to end this conflict once and for all.”
By: Atara Beck
With files from AP