Netanyahu to US envoy: PA actions harming chances for peace

PM tells Greenblatt that Abbas’s failure to condemn Har Adar terror attack, Palestine joining Interpol, and the PA’s bid to try Israel at the ICC all undermine negotiations

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt in Jerusalem, June 20, 2017. (Courtesy/Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt in Jerusalem, June 20, 2017. (Courtesy/Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Wednesday with US special peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, and told him that the actions of the Palestinian leadership in the past few days seriously harmed any chance for reaching a peace deal.

Netanyahu told Greenblatt, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman who also attended the meeting in Jerusalem, that the refusal of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn Tuesday’s terror attack in Har Adar, in which three Israelis were killed and a fourth injured, gravely undermined the prospects of achieving an accord.

In addition, two other international political steps by the Palestinians in the past week showed that the Palestinian leadership was trying to avoid direct negotiations with Israel, he said. Netanyahu highlighted the PA’s successful bid to join Interpol and its efforts to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court.

Earlier on Wednesday at Interpol’s annual General Assembly in Beijing, the Palestinians’ membership bid was accepted.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu told the US envoy that the PA’s membership at Interpol violated past agreements the Palestinians have signed with Israel.

A Palestinian delegate receives the Interpol flag from the president of the International Criminal Police Organization Meng Hongwei, second right, during the Interpol General Assembly, in Beijing, China, September 27, 2017. (Interpol via AP)

A year ago, following a failed Palestinian bid to join Interpol, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a joint statement with the Israel Police that it was an attempt to avoid negotiations with Israel.

“This attempt forms part of the ongoing Palestinian campaign to evade direct negotiations with Israel and to continue the conflict with Israel inside professional international bodies in a way that disrupts these bodies’ work,” the statement said.

Last week Palestinian human rights lawyers and activists handed a 700-page dossier to the International Criminal Court alleging that Israeli authorities are responsible for crimes including apartheid and persecution in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

While rejecting the claims against it, Israel also views the appeal to the ICC as an attempt by the Palestinians to be recognized as a de facto state, which prejudices any future negotiations.

“The actions of the Palestinian leadership in recent days severely impairs the chances of achieving peace,” the statement from Netanyahu’s office said, adding that “the Palestinian diplomatic warfare would not go unanswered.”

Netanyahu also asked Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, who attended the meeting, to look into whether the PA’s most recent effort to have Israel prosecuted for committing alleged war crimes against Palestinians at The Hague violates US law, which would lead to the closure of PA offices in Washington DC.

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