Netanyahu calls on world to pressure Palestinians after Abbas refuses to recognize Jewish state


Monday, February 3, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin on Monday attacked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

"The chairman of the PA was quoted today as saying that he is not prepared to recognize the Jewish state. And this comes with him knowing that there will not be an agreement without recognition of the nation state of the Jews," Netanyahu said at the Likud faction meeting.

The prime minister's comments came after Abbas told The New York Times on Monday that he was willing to allow Israeli troops to remain in the future Palestinian state for a five-year transitional period, after which they would be replaced by US-led NATO troops to ensure Israel's security. He added, however, that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Netanyahu said that it is "absurd" to think that Israel would acquiesce to a peace agreement that entails Israeli recognizing a Palestinian state without gaining Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state.

"Now we will see if those same international actors, who until now have solely put pressure on Israel, will make clear to the Palestinian Authority what exactly will happen to the Palestinians if there will not be an agreement," Netanyahu said.

"Because, unless the Palestinians understand that they will pay a price for the failure of peace talks, they will prefer not to continue the talks," he added.

The prime minister's comments came after US Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Saturday that Israel faces the threat of delegitimization and boycott should the status quo continue without progress in the peace process.

"No amount of pressure, will cause me to give up on the essential interests of the State of Israel - chief of which is the  security of Israel's citizens," he vowed.

Economy Minister Nafatli Bennett also reacted to Abbas's interview in the Times Monday, rejecting the idea of NATO troops taking over for IDF soldiers.

"I heard about a new start-up: NATO forces guarding Israelis. We have seen in the past that when it is calm they are there, but when things heat up, they run away," Bennett said.

The Bayit Yehudi leader gave the example of southern Lebanon following the Second Lebanon War. He stated that there were now some 100,000 missiles in south Lebanon despite the mandate of UN peacekeepers in the area to keep missiles out of the region in accordance with UN Resolution 1701.

"Only the IDF will guard our kids. To any other patent, we say, no thanks," he said.

Labor leader Isaac Herzog reacted to Abbas's proposal, saying at the party's weekly faction meeting that "Agree or not, at least he has a plan."