Netanyahu has some crust. This is how he began his remarks today in Jerusalem before going behind closed doors with the U.S. Secretary of State: throwing cold water all over John Kerry by saying that the Palestinians are no partners for peace because “instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel.”
Welcome back to Jerusalem, John. I want to use this opportunity to express once again my personal appreciation and the appreciation of the people of Israel for your unremitting personal efforts to advance peace between us and the Palestinians. I know that you’re committed to peace, I know that I’m committed to peace, but unfortunately, given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace.
A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says – how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I’m wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women – axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets – what’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-a-vis Israelis and vis-a-vis the state of Israel? So it’s not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks, even after we learned that at least in one case – I stress, at least in one case – those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.
In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority continues its unabated incitement against the state of Israel. This Palestinian Government incitement is rampant. You see it in the state-controlled media – the government-controlled media – in the schools, in textbooks, in kindergartens. You see it at every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel. This is not the way to achieve peace. President Abbas must lead his people away from terror and incitement, towards reconciliation and peace.
John, the people of Israel and I are prepared to make such an historic peace, but we must have a Palestinian partner who’s equally prepared to make this peace. Peace means ending incitement; it means fighting terrorism and condemning terrorism; it means recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people; it means meeting Israel’s security needs; and it means being prepared to truly end the conflict once and for all. If we’re to succeed in our joint effort, President Abbas must reject terror and embrace peace. I hope he doesn’t miss again the opportunity to give Israelis and Palestinians a better future.
Kerry turned the other cheek; he began by thanking Netanyahu for his welcome and his “hospitality.”
Thank you, sir. Thank you, Bibi. Thank you. Well, thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister, my friend Bibi…..
It is always a great pleasure for me to be back in Jerusalem. When I arrived at the hotel and I looked out, the sun was shining brightly on the walls of the great Old City, and it’s always a privilege to be able to see that site and to think of all of the history that is wrapped up for so many different people, and particularly, obviously, for Israelis today witnessing the difficulties that the prime minister has just referred to, and dealing with the possibilities of peace, but a possibility of peace that is always challenged by day-to-day contradictions and day-to-day realities.
I’m particularly grateful to Bibi for his hospitality. He always makes significant time available to me when I come here.
Ira Glunts adds:
Who else but an Israeli could get away with this?
One substantive point I took from Kerry’s remarks is that the immediate goal of the talks have changed from getting the parties to sign a “framework agreement” to getting the parties to accept an “agreed framework.” I am guessing that the critical difference is that the later unlike the former would not be signed and would not be binding on either side.
The change in the framework proposal could just be one more sign that Kerry’s negotiations are running aground and that an agreed upon framework could just be a way to avoid admitting a failure to get the signed framework agreement and to keep the process alive at least until they can come up with a more graceful exit.
From Kerry’s remarks today:
Now, I want to emphasize that the discussion of an agreed framework has emerged from the ideas that both parties have put on the table. My role is not to impose American ideas on either side but to facilitate the parties’ own efforts. An agreed framework would clarify and bridge the gaps between the parties so that they can move towards a final peace treaty that would resolve all of those core issues.
Martin Indyk from earlier comments today at State:
I don’t imagine that we’re going to have a signing ceremony for this. This is a framework – an agreed framework, not an agreement that – a signed agreement…