Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for telling US President Donald Trump that the Palestinians educate their children in “a culture of peace,” saying the comment was “unfortunately not true.”
In his first reaction to Wednesday’s White House sit-down between US Trump and Abbas, Netanyahu objected to the PA leader’s claim, saying the Palestinians “name their schools after mass murderers of Israelis and they pay terrorists,” while reaffirming Israel’s commitment to peace.
While Trump on Wednesday made a point of applauding Abbas for speaking out against the Islamic State terror group during his joint press conference with the Palestinian leader, the US president added that “there cannot be lasting peace unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence and hate.”
The White House later said Trump told Abbas during their meeting to stop incitement, crack down on terrorism, and “resolve” the PA’s policy of providing social welfare payments to the families of terrorists jailed for attacking or killing Israelis. A senior Palestinian official on Thursday called the demand to stop such payments “insane.”
During the Washington press conference, Abbas tried reassuring the US president, responding, “We are raising our youth, our children and our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”
Before entering a meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, Netanyahu on Thursday said that he “fervently shares” Trump’s commitment to advancing peace, adding that he hopes to discuss the issue with the US president.
“I hope that it’s possible to achieve a change and to pursue a genuine peace. This is something Israel is always ready for. I’m always ready for genuine peace,” the prime minister said.
Israel has accused the Palestinians, including Abbas’s Fatah party, of fanning hatred on social media and calling for violence against Israelis.
Last week, Netanyahu posted a video on Twitter showcasing several examples of Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israelis.
A report released last month from the Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) group found that PA textbooks for first to fourth grades were demonizing Israel and glorifying “martyrdom.” The document cited an “alarming deterioration” in content since the previous study.
For peace to come, this must stop. pic.twitter.com/19e8sgOXHX
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 27, 2017
The Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip also criticized Abbas and Trump for their decision to bolster security cooperation between Palestinian security forces and Israel and to counter IS, saying that they were betraying the Palestinian “resistance.”
“White House statement about training PA forces to confront ‘terrorism’ indicates a conspiracy against the Palestinian resistance,” the official Hamas Twitter account said.