PM will grant interview to Arab media at 'right time'

Abbas has utilized Israeli media 3 times in recent months.

October 21, 2010 05:22
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Ariel Jerozolim

Netanyahu spreads arms 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will grant an interview to the Palestinian or pan- Arab media when the message he wants to convey may actually make a difference, government sources said this week.

These comments came after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave an interview to Channel 1 on Sunday evening, bringing his message directly to the Israeli people.

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This is the third time Abbas has brought his message into Israeli living rooms in recent months. The PA President was interviewed by Channel 2 in April, and in July, briefed print journalists. And now, this latest an interview with Channel 1.

In contrast, even though standing requests have been made to the Prime Minister’s Office by numerous Palestinian and Pan-Arabic outlets – including from networks like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya – no decision has yet been made by Netanyahu to grant any of them an interview.

An internal discussion was held on the matter “of late,” according to one source, but the discussions haven’t yet “come to fruition.”

Netanyahu heard the Abbas interview, and during a meeting with the Likud faction the following day said, “I must say that I prefer to talk to him face-to-face. This interview took place seven minutes from here. A direct conversation can advance the resolution of the conflict.”

When Abbas wants to address the Israeli public he knows that if he interviews with one of the Israeli stations he will have a significant audience. But this is not the case if Netanyahu wants to address the Palestinians, since the Palestinian Authority television news is not widely viewed, certainly less than Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera.

The Arab media is not the only media outlet that has failed to secure an interview with Netanyahu. The prime minister has given only a few in-depth interviews to the Israeli media since taking power in March 2009. And for the first time in recent memory, this year no Rosh Hashana interview was granted.

On Sunday, Netanyahu gave a brief interview to Army Radio to mark its 60th anniversary, but mostly gave his personal reminiscences of the radio station; the PM made little mention of the weighty issues facing the country.

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