Netanyahu ‘perfectly open’ to meeting Abbas despite incitement

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a media conference yesterday that he is prepared to meet Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, to put an end to the recent violence and move towards a wider diplomatic solution.

Netanyahu indicated his support for the suggestion in the Israeli media, that US Secretary of State John Kerry will facilitate a meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas, plus Jordan’s King Abdullah in the Jordanian capital Amman. Netanyahu said, “It’s potentially useful because it might stop the wave of incitement and the false allegations against Israel. So I’d be open to meetings with Arab leaders, and Palestinian leadership in order to stop this incitement.”

Netanyahu also reiterated that he is prepared to resume wider diplomatic talks with Abbas straight away. He said, “I’ve called on President Abbas to resume unconditional negotiations immediately. Right now as we speak we can meet … I’m willing to meet him. He’s not willing to meet me.”

However, Netanyahu acknowledged that the situation would need to calm down before serious talks about a long-term arrangement could take place. For this to happen, Netanyahu said Abbas would need to decisively end the incitement stoking the current violence. He said, “First of all we need to lower the flames. First of all this wild incitement needs to stop. We can’t advance toward peace while also promoting terror. You can’t have both terror and peace.”

Netanyahu explained that, “The current terror campaign in Israel is a result of continuous Palestinian incitement.” In particular, he condemned “the outrageous claims” over the Temple Mount “that we are changing the status quo there or intend to destroy it.” He also highlighted the “new big lie… that Israel is executing Palestinians.” Abbas claimed that Israel “executed” a 13-year-old Palestinian, but omitted to mention that he is both alive, being treated in an Israeli hospital, or that he was shot after stabbing two Israelis. Netanyahu called on the international community to stop giving Abbas “a pass” on such falsifications.

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