Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu complained to US Secretary of State John Kerry about continued Palestinian Authority incitement against Israel, even as a ministerial committee prepared to make good on Israel’s pledge to release Palestinian prisoners.
“Incitement and peace cannot coexist.... Rather than educate the next generation of Palestinians to live in peace with Israel, this hate education poisons them against Israel and lays the ground for continued violence, terror and conflict,” Netanyahu wrote to Kerry in a letter released on Saturday.
A ministerial committee is expected to meet Sunday in order to approve the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, all of whom have blood on their hands and have been in Israeli jails since before the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Presuming that the expected approval goes through, there will be a 48-hour delay for legal appeals. If there are any appeals and they fail, the prisoners will be released on Tuesday, one day before the second round of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks are set to be held in Jerusalem.
Israel has pledged to release 104 Palestinian prisoners at selected points during the nine-month negotiating period.
Wednesday’s talks will be held between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu’s special envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erekat and Muhammad Shtayyeh.
The first round of renewed negotiations took place in Washington at the end of July.
The third round will be either in Jericho or Ramallah. A date for those talks has not been set.
US special envoy Martin Indyk was due to be in Jerusalem on Sunday in advance of the second round of talks and will meet with Livni. She will also meet with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who is here to help bolster the talks.
He will also meet with President Shimon Peres on Sunday and with Netanyahu on Monday, as well as with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
In his letter to Kerry, Netanyahu complained about statements Abbas made at the end of July to Egyptian journalists.
According to Reuters, Abbas stated at the time, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.”
The prime minister also complained about a Palestinian broadcaster who described the state of Palestine as reaching from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat, when doing a segment about the Barcelona soccer team’s visit to the West Bank.
Palestinian children continue to be educated to hate Jews, while Palestinian officials continue to call for their deaths, Netanyahu told Kerry in the letter.
He also included a link to a YouTube video that depicts the popular winner of Arab Idol Muhammad Assaf singing a song at the Barcelona soccer game in Hebron that spoke longingly of Israeli cities within the pre- 1967 lines as belonging to Palestine.
Netanyahu’s letter follows statements by US Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (DMaryland), who said at a Jerusalem press conference on Wednesday that the US would not fund curricula in the Palestinian Authority that do not teach tolerance and mutual respect.
Hoyer, who led a group of 36 Democratic congressmen, said it was the first issue he broached in Ramallah on Wednesday when he met with Erekat.
In response to Netanyahu’s letter, the Knesset Land of Israel lobby group called on the ministerial committee not to approve the prisoner release.