Tripartite meeting slammed as farce

Tripartite meeting slamm

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's critics on the Left and Right criticized his tripartite summit on Tuesday with US President Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Labor rebel MK Ophir Paz-Pines said the summit was "a shameful farce" that made a show of the stalemate in the peace process. "Instead of taking advantage of a historic opportunity, they are dragging their feet," Paz-Pines said. "Netanyahu and [Labor chairman Ehud] Barak misled the public. It is unfortunate that Labor is a partner in this charade." National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari accused the prime minister of "humiliating Israel" by "dropping his head toward Obama in submission." Netanyahu should have stood tall in Jewish pride instead of "acting like a scolded American clerk," Ben-Ari said. Cabinet ministers directed their criticism at the Palestinians. Abbas proved he is "not interested in peace," Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin said, at a meeting of the Council For Peace and Security in Ramat Gan. Begin called chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat a "wild beast of a man" - a term an angel used in Genesis to describe Ishmael, who is considered the forerunner of the Arabs. Shas chairman Eli Yishai said that "the Palestinians systematically entrench themselves in self-destructive policies in an effort to upgrade past agreements that they blatantly broke." He praised Netanyahu for "helping unmask the Palestinians' true intentions" against Israel. On a visit to the settlers' protest tent near the Knesset, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said, "The Palestinians must make a strategic decision to reach peace with Israel and not instead of Israel." Likud rebel lawmakers reserved their criticism for Obama. Speaking to settlers in the tent, MK Tzipi Hotovely said that "Israel doesn't have to prove to the world anymore that it is willing to take steps for peace. We can say that we tried everything and we will no longer make any concessions." MK Danny Danon, who is in New York to lobby against freezing settlement construction, said that Obama failed to obtain any concessions from Arab countries, so Netanyahu must restart unlimited building in Judea and Samaria. "The summit proved that the peace process is not a Hollywood movie," Danon said. "Obama must understand that charisma is not enough to bring peace in the Middle East."