Palestinian Authority incitement is poisoning the atmosphere and is tantamount
to “confidence destroying measures,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told
visiting Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore on Sunday.
comments came just hours after he sounded particularly downbeat in the cabinet
regarding the diplomatic process, informing his ministers that signs of progress
were not “especially good.”
The Palestinian Authority has threatened not
to renew low-level talks that began this month in Jordan between Netanyahu’s
envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat unless Israel
freezes settlement construction and agrees to the June 4, 1967, lines as the
basis for negotiations.
Speaking before a meeting with Gilmore, Netanyahu
cited the PA’s official television broadcast of a program this week in which the
terrorists who murdered five members of the Fogel family in Itamar last March
The PA television program, he
said, portrayed the terrorists as martyrs and heroes, just days after the PA’s
mufti in Jerusalem quoted from a Muslim text calling for the murder of
“I think this is the wrong way to go. We demand a prompt
condemnation; I hope you demand a condemnation because the only way to move to
peace is to prepare our people for peace and not for brutal terror,” the prime
Later, during the meeting with Gilmore, Netanyahu said
that while many ask Israel to take confidence building measures toward the
Palestinians, the type of incitement being aired in the PA was destroying
Netanyahu told his guest that Israel hoped the
low-level talks that began this month would continue.
“We’re prepared to
continue these talks, we hope the Palestinian Authority decides to resume the
talks and back away from terror and glorification of killers,” Netanyahu
A similar message was relayed in a meeting later with visiting
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. At that meeting, Netanyahu said the
international community should urge the PA not to form a unity government with
Hamas. He also praised President Shimon Peres for saying at the World Economic
forum in Davos on Saturday that Turkey was providing Hamas with hundreds of
millions of dollars.
“This is a matter of concern for us,” Netanyahu
Discussions with both men dealt extensively with the
The prime minister told his cabinet earlier in the day that
the Palestinians – who want to see Israel present concrete proposals on the
border issues – “refuse to even discuss Israel’s security needs.”
the five rounds of talks in Jordan between Molcho and Erekat, Israel presented
its overriding principles, the first being that it would not take any steps that
endangered its security, according to Israeli officials. What that meant, Molcho
said, was that if the Palestinians continued to say that there could not be any
IDF presence in the Jordan Valley in a peace deal, that would impact Israel’s
ability to show flexibility on the territorial issue.
In other words, the
more the Palestinians came toward Israel on security issues, the more Israel
could be flexible on territorial ones. Israel would not, however, draw a line on
a map without first knowing what the security arrangements would
Another principle Molcho articulated was that wherever the lines will
be drawn, the vast majority of the Jewish population beyond the Green Line in
the West Bank will be drawn into Israel, and the vast majority of Palestinians
will be inside a future Palestinian state.
Molcho said that because of
the historic, religious and emotive nature of Jerusalem, that issue will have to
be dealt with separately.
In a related issue, UN Secretary- General Ban
Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday for a two-day visit that will take
him to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza.
He is also scheduled to address the
12th-annual Herzliya Conference on Thursday evening.
said Ban was not expected to come with any concrete proposal, but rather would
be on a fact-finding mission. He visited Lebanon earlier this month.
week in New York, while announcing the visit, Ban said he would “encourage both
sides to re-engage in earnest and create a positive atmosphere for moving