Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called on Palestinian leaders to reverse their opposition to US President Donald Trump’s peace proposal, warning it may be the most generous offer they ever get.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends” on the US Fox News cable network, Netanyahu said Trump asked Israel to make concessions under the agreement and that he is open to doing so.
“There are compromises on both sides but I’m ready to make those compromises. I’m ready to move forward on the president’s deal to achieve peace. And the Palestinians… I think over time they’ll see they’ll never get a better deal,” he said.
Netanyahu added: “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for Israel, for the Palestinians and for peace.”
When asked what concessions Israel would make, Netanyahu noted Trump’s proposal requires an Israeli building freeze in areas of the West Bank it envisions for a Palestinian state.
“It’s not only what we get but what we don’t get it. It’s not only what we do but what we don’t do,” he said.
He said the Palestinians must accept that “Israel is here to stay” for peace to be possible.
“I want to get the Palestinian-Israeli conflict off the table by having the Palestinians face up to the fact that yes, Israel is here to stay. It’s not going to go away and you have to make peace with it,” Netanyahu said.
In a separate interview on the same program, Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner criticized the Palestinian rejection of the plan.
“These people have been professional at not finishing or making deals and what they don’t like is that we’re not going to do it the same way that is has been done before,” Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, said.
He said it was on Palestinian leaders to behave as if they “are ready for a state” if they want one.
“What we’re seeing with them is that if they want to get to a conclusion they have to act like people who are ready for a state and they’re proving through their reaction that they’re not ready to have a state,” he said.
The interviews came as dozens of Palestinians in Bethlehem protested against the US plan.
Several young Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli security forces, who responded by firing tear gas and sound grenades. A number of people were treated for tear gas inhalation, the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa reported.
Protests against the US plan also took place in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Qalqiliya, Tulkarem and al-Bireh, Wafa reported.
On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas firmly rejected the plan in a speech to senior Palestinian leaders, including representatives of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.
“We say a thousand times: No, no and no to the ‘deal of the century,’” Abbas said, adding that the US plan “will not come to pass” and that “our people will send it to the dustbins of history.”
Breaking with past US administrations, the plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in part of the West Bank, a handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel — on condition that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip disarm.
The plan also calls for allowing Israel to annex settlements, granting the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, as well as ongoing overall security control west of the Jordan River, and barring Palestinians from entering Israel as refugees.
Jerusalem would remain “the undivided” capital of Israel, Trump stressed as he unveiled the plan in the White House Tuesday, with Netanyahu standing next to him.