Israel Says Palestinians Must Decide for Peace; US Has Concerns on PA Incitement

Illustrative. US Secretary of State Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Photo Courtesy of US State Department.

Illustrative. US Secretary of State Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Photo Courtesy of US State Department.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again implied his support for a Palestinian state, by saying that Israel “will not be a binational state” of Jews and Palestinians. However, Netanyahu underscored that it takes two sides to reach a solution.

In comments released by his office on Sunday, Netanyahu said, “In order for there to be peace, the other side needs to decide that it also wants peace. To my regret, this is not what we see. First of all, the Palestinian Authority incitement is continuing—it must stop.” Incitement is also a key concern of United States Secretary of State John Kerry. He believes ending it is one step towards laying the groundwork for revitalizing the peace process.

In a keynote address delivered to the Brookings Institution released by the State Department, Kerry took his typical approach of calling for Israel and the Palestinians to take steps toward peace and hinting that unemployment and despair were somehow vital reasons for Palestinian terrorism.

But despite his implied critique of Israel as partly instigating terror against themselves by not giving the Palestinians enough “hope,” Kerry did manage to call out the Palestinians about their incitement on multiple times. He noted that it raised questions.

“The Palestinians must decide what kind of future they want for their people,” said Kerry. “…President Abbas has long been committed to nonviolence. Don’t forget that. But are Palestinian officials really doing everything possible to prevent all forms of incitement? Don’t these terrorist attacks against innocent civilians deserve public condemnation?”

And while Kerry called for Israel to make economic and territorial concessions to help support the Palestinian Authority, it is the incitement issue that raises questions about just how much the PA is worth saving.

On Sunday, Netanyahu noted that the senior Palestinian official in charge of the negotiations with Israel is “going to console the family of a terrorist who tried to murder Jews. Not only does he not condemn it, he goes to offer condolences and thereby gives backing and encouragement to acts of terrorism. Whoever wants peace needs to condemn these things unequivocally, just as I am doing here.”

So while Kerry highlighted the important security coordination between the Palestinian security forces and Israel, there certainly appear to be serious concerns about the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to peace that Netanyahu believes need to be addressed first.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, December 6, 2015)

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