“If we ever want to get to reconciliation and peace, there needs to be an understanding why this conflict has continued for so many years,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a special Knesset session marking 40 years since Anwar Sadat's address to Israeli parliament. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
NEW DELHI – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas revealed with his fiery and intransigent speech Sunday that the real reason for the lack of peace in the Middle East is the Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
Netanyahu, in a briefing with reporters after a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that Abbas’s words will help Israel “present the truth” to the world. While much of the comments about the speech have centered on attacks on US President Donald Trump, Netanyahu said that what Abbas said, not only the shrewd way in which he said it, will help Israel get its point across.
“If we ever want to get to reconciliation and peace, there needs to be an understanding why this conflict has continued for so many years,” Netanyahu said. “There is always an attempt to hide this, and I have worked for many years to try and get across the truth that the root of the conflict is the continual and, unfortunately, unchanging denial of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state within any borders.”
He said that without a change in the position stated by Abbas, “there will not be peace.”
Netanyahu also said that Abu Mazen's outburst was because he was concerned about the diplomatic plan that the US administration is working on, and wanted to remove the Americans from involvement in the process. “The world has pampered the Palestinians, and not told them the truth,” he said. “I think Abbas is reacting. For the first time someone [Trump] is telling them the truth.”
Turning to Trump’s speech Friday, in which the US president said he would waive nuclear sanctions on Iran for the final time to give the world powers a last chance to alter the 2015 nuclear accord, Netanyahu said that this appears to be the last chance for the western powers to fix the agreement.
Netanyahu said he told European leaders he met recently in Brussels that they should take Trump’s words about this matter seriously, but that many thought that he would never withdraw from the agreement, and that his words were “empty.”
“I think that after his speech on Friday, people are starting to understand — maybe late — to take his words seriously,” he said.
Netanyahu said that French President Emmanuel Macron told him in a recent phone conversation that while he agrees with Israel's position regarding the danger of Iran's ballistic missile development, support for terror and aggression in the region, he does not agree with Israel vis-a-vis the nuclear deal.
“I told him that if this agreement is not changed, then the aggressiveness of Iran in the region — terrorism, even missile threats toward France — will increase many fold,” he said.