Work is underway to arrange a meeting with US, Israel, Arab and Palestinian representatives to quell the wave of Palestinian violence that has terrorized the country over the last two weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem on Thursday night.
“I am talking about a suggestion that [US Secretary of State] John Kerry, [Jordanian] King Abdullah, I and others would meet,” said Netanyahu as he named Jordan as a possible location for those talks.
Channel 10 speculated that Palestinian and Israeli leaders would not speak directly, but that Kerry would hold separate back-to-back conversations with them in the same location.
Kerry in a speech Thursday at Indiana University said, “It is critically important that calm be restored as soon as possible.”
He added the he expects "to be traveling to the region in the coming days, and we will remain very closely engaged in order to support efforts to stabilize the situation.”
In the last two weeks Palestinians have carried out 23 attacks against Israelis killing eight people and wounding over 70. Many of the attacks were carried out with knives or axes.
Israel has been loath to refer to the wave of terror as a third intifada. The violent outbreak began just as the Quartet — the US, the UN, the EU and Russia — had met in New York to focus on the resumption of peace talks which have been frozen since April 2014.
The Palestinians have rebuffed repeated calls by Netanyahu to hold direct negotiations with Israel, unless he freezes settlement activity and agrees in principal to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders.
The prime minister was startled, therefore, at Thursday’s press conference when one reporter appeared to suggest that he was unwilling to meet with Abbas. Netanyahu noted he had repeatedly tried to hold such meetings.
“Are we living on the same planet?” he asked the reporter. “I’ve been calling [for these talks to occur] day in, day out, in every forum, in the United Nations, in the US Congress, in Israel, in Jerusalem, In Tel Aviv. I haven’t done so in Nepal, because I haven’t visited it.
“I’ve called on President Abbas to resume unconditional negotiations immediately. Right now, as we speak, we can meet. I have no problem with that.
“I think we should stop immediately this wave of [Palestinian] incitement against Israel and these attacks, murderous attacks against Jews.
“I’m willing to meet him, he’s not willing to meet me. And you ask me about the resumption of negotiations? Come on. Get with the program. These people don’t want negotiations, and they’re inciting for violence. Direct your questions to them,” said Netanyahu.
The international community has a role to play in insisting that these talks occur, he said. It “has given Abbas a pass,” when it comes to resuming these talks and choosing instead to falsely warn against Israeli actions on the Temple Mount.
“When someone gives him a pass to incite violence he will continue to incite to violence,” he said.
Still when asked if Abbas was a partner for peace, Netanyahu said that first he must work to calm the current violence rather than inflaming it before peace could be addressed.