search

Netanyahu: Abbas handshake was ‘purely protocol, not a meeting’

PM says he does not hope for collapse of the PA, but stresses gesture at climate summit was no sign of rapprochement, Abbas ‘inciting’ terror

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, France, on November 30, 2015. (AFP/Martin Bureau/Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, France, on November 30, 2015. (AFP/Martin Bureau/Pool)

PARIS — An encounter with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Paris climate conference should not be misinterpreted as a harbinger of a rapprochement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, hours after the two men shook hands.

“It was purely protocol, not a working meeting,” the prime minister told reporters on the sidelines of the climate conference.

As world leaders attending the convention readied to pose for a group photo, Netanyahu was standing next to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, when Abbas arrived and was placed next to Key, Netanyahu recalled.

“So we shook hands, that’s crystal clear. But we didn’t talk,” he said. There are no plans for a meeting, he added.

The prime minister also said that he does not hope for the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, amid speculation that the authority may disband due to external factors or be forcibly disbanded by Abbas in a bid to force Israel’s hand.

Netanyahu warned against a “worse alternative” to the PA if it collapses.

“It’s important for the world to see that we’re always willing to talk. But, on the other hand, I have no illusions about Abu Mazen,” Netanyahu said, referring to the Palestinian leader by his moniker.

Abbas continues inciting against Israelis and Jews and is thus partly responsible for the ongoing wave of terror striking Israel currently, Netanyahu lamented. “Incitement plays a central role in [fostering] terrorism and Abu Mazen must stop his incitement and stop spreading lies about [Israel’s alleged intention to change the status quo at] the Temple Mount.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Paris on Monday, November 30, 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) meets with US President Barack Obama (right) and Secretary of State John Kerry (left) on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Paris, France, November 30, 2015.

Netanyahu also complained to US President Barack Obama about Abbas’s incitement during a spontaneous 10-minute conversation they held in a conference hallway, the prime minister said.

“I told him that a central aspect of terror is incitement,” the prime minister said.

“President Obama told me that he intends to talk with Abu Mazen about this issue and that he agrees with me that this has to end.”

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed