Netanyahu: Abbas has shown Palestinians don’t want peace
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'It's the Palestinians who don't want to solve the conflict'

Netanyahu: Abbas has shown Palestinians don’t want peace

Referring to Trump's new National Security Strategy, PM says US has made clear the root of Middle East turmoil is not Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on December 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/AFP Photo and Pool/Amir Cohen)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on December 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/AFP Photo and Pool/Amir Cohen)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in rejecting US-led peace efforts, has shown he is not interested in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“[Abbas] declared that he is quitting the process and, in effect, is not interested in any proposal that the US might submit. I think that once again it is becoming clear: It is the Palestinians who do not want to resolve this conflict,” said Netanyahu.

Following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this month, Abbas said he would no longer accept the US as a broker of peace negotiations. He is also refusing to meet with any members of the Trump peace team, and canceled a scheduled meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence last week. (Pence subsequently postponed his visit to the area because of domestic imperatives.)

Speaking alongside France’s president in Paris on Friday, Abbas called the US a “dishonest mediator” and firmly ruled out any peace plan the Trump administration may come up with.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the end of a joint press conference following their meeting at the Elysee presidential Palace, in Paris, on December 22, 2017. (AFP/Pool/Francois Mori)

Speaking ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu also referred to Trump’s recently unveiled National Security Strategy, which said Israel is not the root cause of Middle East turmoil.

“The US has said something else that is very important: The root of the general conflict in the Middle East does not lie in Israel, but in Iran and in radical Islam and the terrorism that it inspires,” the prime minister said.

“All of these are the true reasons that have been revealed to everyone. Whoever sees clearly and has integrity cannot deny them,” he added.

The prime minister also addressed Israel’s impending decision to leave UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural arm.

“I think that this is appropriate, given this organization’s biased, one-sided and absurd attitude toward us, and against the background of the US’s strong stand at the UN, which we welcome,” he said.

The US last week vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A similar measure was later passed by the UN General Assembly, although unlike with the Security Council, the resolution is not legally binding.

Netanyahu also commented on Denmark’s decision to tighten the criteria according to which it gives aid to Palestinian NGOs, predicting the country “isn’t the first and won’t be the last.”

The Danish Foreign Ministry made the announcement Friday, saying it would implement a more stringent vetting process for the transfer of funds to Palestinian NGOs.

“It is important that there is confidence that Danish assistance is going for the right purposes,” said Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen.

The prime minister said he has urged other European countries to take a similar stand and “stop supporting organizations that support terrorism and promote boycotts of Israel.”

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