Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas at an ambassadors’ conference at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem Sunday, ripping attempts by the PA to find a new broker for peace talks between the PA and Israel after senior PA officials said they would not agree to negotiations led by the US.
Following President Donald Trump’s historic declaration last month recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and pledging to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, senior PA leaders warned that Vice President Mike Pence was not welcome in the PA, and declared that the PA would not accept any American-led peace effort.
“The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from it,” Abbas said at a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron last month, according to AFP.
Vice President Mike Pence landed in Israel Sunday evening, kicking off a three-day visit, which will include the first address at the Knesset by a senior US official since President Bush’s 2008 speech marking the 60th anniversary of Israel’s establishment.
Speaking at a Foreign Ministry event Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu hailed Mike Pence as a “great friend of Israel”, and wished him a ‘warm welcome’.
“This evening we welcome US Vice President Mike Pence, a great friend of Israel. He has landed here and we will welcome him with warmth and pride. I will discuss two issues with him: Peace and security.”
The Israeli premier added that despite efforts by the PA, there could be no substitute for American leadership in any negotiated settlement between Israel and the PA.
“On peace, I have a message for Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]: There is no alternative for American leadership in the diplomatic process. Whoever is not ready to talk with the Americans about peace – does not want peace.”
Netanyahu also urged the European Union to adopt President Trump’s stance vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear deal, which Trump declined to recertify in October.
“On security, I have a message for the countries of Europe: I suggest that they take President Trump’s words seriously.”
“If they want to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran, they must propose amendments to the agreement that will prevent Iran from going nuclear, which threatens them and the entire world.”