Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of lying when he visited the White House on Wednesday.“I heard President Abbas yesterday say that they teach their children peace,” Netanyahu said, quoting Abbas’s statement to the media made during a joint press event with US President Donald Trump.“That’s unfortunately not true,” said Netanyahu, who has embarked on a campaign to end payments by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists.
“They [the Palestinians] name their schools after mass murderers of Israelis and they pay terrorists,” he said.Netanyahu spoke at the start of his meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu. His comments followed a number of statements from angry right-wing politicians, who were outraged that Abbas could speak of peace while at the same time issuing such payments, which they believe help inspire acts of terrorism against Israelis.Just one day earlier, White Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president wants Abbas to resolve the PA’s policy of paying terrorists and their families a monthly income.Nabil Sha’ath, a senior foreign policy adviser to Abbas, said during an interview with Israel Radio that Netanyahu’s demand was ludicrous.He added that such a move would severely damage any prospects of Middle East peace negotiations.“The demand that Ramallah stop payments to the families of security prisoners is mad,” Sha’ath told the broadcaster, adding that “such a requirement is designed to destroy any chance for a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.”“The prisoners are victims of Israel and the result of the occupation,” he said, drawing a comparison to the “IDF paying the salaries of Israeli soldiers.”The senior adviser, however, said that Trump’s invitation to Abbas was a good starting point between the Palestinian Authority and the new US administration and expressed his appreciation for the respectful approach of the president in an attempt to renew the peace process.
Trump-Abbas meeting in Washington. (Reuters)