Netanyahu says Palestinian Authority leader not interested in peace

Netanyahu accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas of "withdrawing from the [diplomatic] process" for peace

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 24, 2017 11:00AM (EST)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Donald Trump (Getty/Kobi Gideon)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Donald Trump (Getty/Kobi Gideon)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accusing Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, of effectively withdrawing from the Middle East peace process by saying he will not accept any American suggestion about creating peace.

During the start of a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu told reporters that "for all practical purposes" Abbas had said that he was "withdrawing from the [diplomatic] process and is not interested at all what kind of proposal the US brings," according to The Jerusalem Post.

Netanyahu added, "This again reveals something simple and clear – the ones who do not want a resolution to the conflict are the Palestinians."

The Israeli Prime Minister also heartily concurred with the assessment in a recent national security paper produced by President Donald Trump's administration. The paper claimed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the main reason for ongoing unrest in the Middle East.

"All of these things are true and can be seen by all. Anyone with eyes in their head and a true heart cannot deny it," Netanyahu told reporters.

Netanyahu's initial comments were referring to remarks made by Abbas during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

"The United States are no longer an honest mediator in the peace process, we will not accept any plan put forward by the United States," Abbas told reporters. Abbas' comment occurred within the context of his denunciation of America's decision to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, even though the latter city is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians as its capital.

Abbas also condemned the United States for threatening to financially penalize countries that expressed opposition to America's decision regarding Israel during a UN vote, while Macron proclaimed his support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The Trump administration has already been warding off accusations of being unduly biased toward Israel. Even prior to protests proliferating throughout the Middle East in response to Trump's decision, there were concerns about his appointment of his son-in-law Jared Kushner to lead the peace process. Kushner was the co-director of a foundation that funded illegal settlements in Palestinian territories and is reported to have ordered former Trump foreign policy adviser Michael Flynn to ask Russia to veto a United Nations resolution condemning illegal settlements. Kushner was also reported to have done this on behalf of Netanyahu.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Benjamin Netanyahu Donald Trump Israel Mahmoud Abbas Palestine