PM in Moscow questions Abbas' desire to end conflict

Netanyahu compares Iran's Khamenei to Hitler; blames Abbas for allowing education "toward hate"; meets Putin, Medvedev, Russian FM.

PM Netanyahu with Russian PM Vladimir Putin 311 GPO (photo credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO)
PM Netanyahu with Russian PM Vladimir Putin 311 GPO
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO)
Amid the worst violence Israel has faced since he came to power two years ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in Moscow on Thursday that it was not clear whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas genuinely wanted to end the conflict with Israel.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] speaks peace to the world, but domestically there is incitement and education toward hate,” Netanyahu said. “And who do they blame? The settlers. That is not the problem; The first thing that needs to be discussed is the root of the problem: that the Palestinians don’t recognize our existence alongside them.”
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The prime minister said it was “nonsense” to think that the major problem in the region was the construction of two homes on a street where 100 homes already exist.
“The settlement issue needs to be discussed and decisions made,” Netanyahu said. “But for that we need to sit and talk.”
Netanyahu’s comments came during his 24-hour visit to Moscow that included meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and top Moscow-based Russian journalists.
Regarding Abbas, Netanyahu said it was quite possible the person Israel wanted to make peace with today, could disappear tomorrow.
The prime minister also said it was not clear with whom Israel was supposed to reach an agreement.
“The Palestinian population is divided into two,” he said, using a line first introduced last week during an interview with CNN. “There are those who say openly they want to destroy Israel, and those who don’t say that, but refuse to stand up against those who do say it.”
Referring to the visit to Moscow this week by Abbas, Netanyahu said he had no doubt that the Palestinian leader “spoke here about peace. He did the same in Brazil, and also on Channel 1 on Israel Television. But on Palestinian television, and in the Palestinian textbooks, he is not prepared to say that.
“It is time to tell that man, ‘enough’,” he said.
Referring to Wednesday’s bomb attack in Jerusalem, Netanyahu told the Russian journalists that they know what terrorism is, because it has hit Russian theaters and airports.
“We are talking about the same irrational Islamic radicalism,” he said.
He then told a story of the 4th grade classmate of one of his sons who was killed a few years ago in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. On the same street where the family lived at the time – Gaza Street – there were two attacks at around the same period, he said.
“I told my children, you are not leaving the house,” he said. “They replied, ‘what, we are not going to live normal lives?’ And I said that the reality was not normal.
“Then we built the security barrier to prevent the terrorists from blowing themselves up in our cites, and the Palestinians took us to the court in The Hague claiming we were carrying out war crimes. That is the crazy hypocrisy of the world.”
During the meetings in Russia – where some 30 million solders and civilians were killed in World War II – Netanyahu also focused on Iran, drawing comparisons between Hitler and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and arguing to the Russians that a nuclear Iran could very well attack them as well.
Saying that it is difficult for the world to understand the danger of a nuclear armed Iran, Netanyahu said it was also difficult in the 1930s for the world to understand the dangers of Nazism.
“That cursed government led to a disaster during which two-thirds of the Jewish people were killed, and 30 million Russian speakers. The madness is the same madness: for one it was race superiority, for the other religious superiority,” he said.
Netanyahu then compared Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei to Hitler, saying that while “Hitler first began conquering the world and then started to develop nuclear arms, Khamenei is going the opposite way.”