(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) on Tuesday dismissed US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a new peace process.
“Abu Mazen arrived in Washington as he continues to transfer money to the families of terrorists. It’s clear to anyone who is intelligent that Abu Mazen isn’t interested in peace,” Hotovely said, using the other name by which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is commonly known.
Those payments, along with incitement in Palestinian textbooks, prove that Abbas is not interested in striking a deal with Israel, Hotovely added.
She also took issue with Abbas’s call to end the “occupation.”
“The nation of Israel isn’t an occupier in its land. We have been deeply rooted to our land for 3,000 years and we will continue to settle the land,” Hotovely said.
But in spite of the skepticism among Israeli governmental officials, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) was sent on Thursday to Brussels to attend a high-level meeting — the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee — with representatives from the PA, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations.
The annual spring meeting, which coordinates donor funding to the PA, will be hosted by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende.
On the sidelines of that meeting, US special envoy Jason Greenblatt is expected to update Hanegbi on Trump's talk with Abbas in Washington.
In Israel a skeptical MK Shuli Moalem-Refael (Bayit Yehudi) said the idea of a two-state solution had long been dead.
“Only the obsession remains," she said.
“Trump can’t achieve anything here beyond cocktail chatter with Israelis and Palestinians diplomats,” Moalem-Refaeli said.
The PA doesn’t want peace or an agreement, she added.
MK Omer Bar Lev (Zionist Union) immediately offered Netanyahu the support of his party from the opposition for any measures he would need to take in moving forward with the peace process.
MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) called on the Left in Israel to put forward its own initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than wait for Trump to be its “messiah.”
Former Israeli foreign minister MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said she also opposed payments to the families of Palestinians terrorists.
But Trump was serious about wanting peace and that there was enough support for it in the Knesset, she said. If Netanyahu wants, he could take "dramatic" steps and pass a peace deal, she said.
"We have an obligation to try to make peace," she continued.
To those who feel that Abbas is the problem, she went on to add, Abbas does not increase the chances for peace, he decreases them.
"There is a president who wants a deal, one that can't be painted as anti-Israel," Livni said.