(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On threw her party’s support behind Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech on Friday to the UN General Assembly, blaming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the lack of a peace treaty.
“Meretz supports Abbas’s international efforts to bring the end of the occupation and to get international recognition as a [Palestinian] state and member of the UN before and as a corridor to reaching peace in bilateral negotiations between equals,” the party leader said.
The speech reflected Abbas’s total distrust of Netanyahu as a partner for peace, Gal-On said.
According to Gal-On, “Netanyahu refused to negotiate for five years and the talks under American sponsorship led nowhere and wild construction continued in the settlements. Now Netanyahu wants to continue ‘managing the conflict’ instead of solving it,” she lamented.
Conversely, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called Abbas a “lie monger” who has yet to accept Israel’s existence, and as such, any Israeli concessions would be “disconnected from reality.”
According to Ya’alon, Abbas is not interested in peace or an agreement with Israel, because that would mean recognizing the Jewish state, which he has yet to do publicly.
“Abbas’s speech in the UNGA proves for the umpteenth time: This is not a leader who wants peace and progress for his people; rather, he is a person who spreads lies and is busy inciting and making hateful speeches against Israel… This is not how someone who claims to want an end to the conflict speaks,” Ya’alon said.
The defense minister added: “Time after time Abbas continues to deceive the international community, to falsely accuse Israel and make racist statements and hope that pressure, threats, and lies will scare us and make us surrender.”
“We have no partner for an agreement that will bring the end of the conflict and [Palestinian] demands, and therefore, we will not compromise on the security of Israel’s citizens,” he said.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that Abbas belongs with “murderers, missile-launchers, and our enemies in general.”
Bennett posited that the idea of Palestinian statehood “flew away together with the missiles that were launched at Ben-Gurion Airport two months ago. Now, Israel must lead to new, creative directions that will allow us to just live here. A Palestinian state to the west of the Jordan River is not one of them,” he said.
Deputy Minister for Liaison with the Knesset Ophir Akunis said Abbas’s speech to the UNGA revealed his true face.
“It’s clear that this is not a partner for peace, rather someone who does not miss an opportunity to spread lies and hatred of Israel,” he said. “The Palestinians are not mature enough for peace with the Jewish people. Their real desire is a country instead of Israel, not next to it.”
Akunis looked forward to Netanyahu’s upcoming speech, saying that “after Abbas’s speech of lies, Netanyahu will give a speech of truth.”
On the Left, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) took a more critical tack, saying that Abbas’s speech was disappointing and full of lies, but not surprising, because the PA president is not a friend of Israel.
“I totally reject what he is saying, but I do not forget the Israeli interest, so it is important to remember that it is better for Israel to deal with the PA in Gaza and not Hamas and continue our security cooperation in Judea and Samaria,” he said.
MK Nachman Shai (Labor) said Abbas’s speech marked a sad day for anyone who wants two states for two nations.
“The accusations that the PA president made are baseless lies, starting from genocide to the claims of a new ‘Nakba.’ These things never happened,” Shai said.
The Labor MK said: “The war in Gaza was just and legitimate in light of Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel and its residents.”
Still, Shai said, most Israelis support a long-term peace treaty with the Palestinians, giving them independence and sovereignty while Israel will maintain defensible borders.
“There is not and will not be another agreement,” he added.