Abbas speech condemned across political spectrum

Education Minister Naftali Bennett: Time to prepare for the next era

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 14, 2018.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 14, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was condemned by Israeli politicians across the political spectrum on Monday for his speech on Sunday in which he denied the Jewish connection to Israel, rejected any negotiations as long as Donald Trump is US president and called for destroying Trump’s “house.”
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said the time had come for Israel to prepare for the post-Abbas era and decide what is good for the country, which he said was applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
“Abbas is drifting away from the world, along with the idea of a Palestinian state,” Bennett said. “His behavior indicates that he has lost power and his connection to reality.”
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said Abbas confirmed in his speech the suspicions that his goal was not territorial compromise but renouncing the right of the Jewish people to a state in the land of Israel.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi wrote on Twitter that Abbas’s speech was “laced with vile antisemitic conspiracy theories and was unbecoming of a leader.” Hanegbi said Abbas’s incitement against Israel and the US was extremely dangerous and should be condemned by anyone interested in peaceful coexistence.
Former minister Gideon Sa’ar said: “Abbas’s speech of attacks and delusions proves he has lost his marbles. His attempt to isolate Israel and seek achievements in the international arena with unilateral moves has been blocked in the Trump era in the White House.”
Deputy Minister Michael Oren (Kulanu) asked new European Union Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret to have the EU publicly condemn the antisemitic and anti-European overtones in Abbas’s speech.
“Abbas repeated the antisemitic lie that the Europeans slaughtered the Jews and sent the survivors to the Middle East to serve European interests,” Oren said. “The EU never misses an opportunity to condemn Israel. The time has come for it to demonstrate balance and criticize Abbas’s disgraceful lies.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) met with Giaufret and told him “Abbas’s ridiculous accusation that Israel is a European colonialist project was a slap in the face of the international community and especially the Europeans.”
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said Abbas’s lies in his speech would not change history, and Israel will remain whether he likes it or not. She said Israel should withdraw from land not because of Abbas but in spite of him.
“We are not interested in Trump’s house but ours,” Livni said. “We want to separate and divorce the Palestinians. But we don’t want to annex millions of Palestinians. Even in times of diplomatic stalemate, we need to stick to our views and not be dragged into a binational state.”
Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay told his faction Abbas’s statements were “grave lies full of antisemitism.” But “the Zionist dream is not to follow what others say about us but to do what is in Israel’s best interests,” which he said was separating from the Palestinians.
Asked by The Jerusalem Post if that meant he favored a unilateral withdrawal in Judea and Samaria, Gabbay said under his leadership, Israel would not take unilateral steps.
“We would do it with agreements, not unilaterally,” he said. “It won’t be Trump who solves the conflict. We are the ones who live here, and we will be the ones who have to solve it.”