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Netanyahu Contrasts Arab States Openness to Peace with Palestinian Rejectionism

June 30, 2019 Peace and Conflict

The Palestinian Authority is rejecting US peace efforts. PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

The Palestinian government’s highly negative response to the United States’ Middle East peace approach has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with just one conclusion. “One thing is clear from all this. The Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including that of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “This is not how those who want to advance peace should act. In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”

Netanyahu highlighted as an example of the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejectionism their arrest of a Palestinian businessman who attended the recent US-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference that launched the economic side of the peace plan. Netanyahu said the PA later released the businessman “due to American pressure. His only crime was that he attended an economic conference designed to advance the Palestinian economy.”

Netanyahu contrasted that with the noteworthy words of Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who Netanyahu quoted as saying that “Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region. The Jewish People have a place amongst us. The Israeli public needs to trust that there are countries in the region that do want to have peace and do encourage the Palestinians to do it.”

Netanyahu said the Bahraini comments were “very important” and a “direct result of our policy” as Israel is seeking to be global power. And then there’s the Palestinian reaction to the American peace plan, which is to reject it before it has even been fully revealed.

“At a time when we are drawing closer to the Arab states, and are gradually normalizing relations with them, and a time when we praised the Bahrain conference that was designed first and foremost to lead to economic prosperity for the Palestinians and the entire region, at the same time, the Palestinians repeatedly attacked the conference in contradiction of their own interests,” said Netanyahu.

Despite all this, US President Donald Trump on Saturday was quoted on the White House website as telling reporters there’s a “chance” for an Israel-Palestinian peace deal and later concluded by saying “I actually think that there’s a good chance.” Despite that, Trump called it “probably about the toughest deal to make.”

Trump also addressed the Palestinian response to the plan. “I think the Palestinians basically—I’m not sure—I know they want to make a deal but they want to be a little bit cute and that’s okay. I fully understand where they’re coming from.”

He did note that he cut off funding for the Palestinians due to their saying “nasty things.” Said Trump, “What I’ve done is said, ‘Look, as long—if you’re not negotiating and if you don’t want to make peace, we’re not going to pay you.’ So let’s see what happens.

“I think they want to make a deal, and I’ve had a very good relationship with some of their leaders. And obviously I’ve had a good relationship with Israel.”

Trump also highlighted what he believes is a very good team working to put the deal together, including White House advisors Jason Grenblatt and Jared Kushner, and himself. “And with me being President, if you don’t get that deal done, it will never happen. We’ll have to see what happens.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 30, 2019)

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