Netanyahu accuses Abbas of ‘running away’ from peace process

PA head Abbas (L) and PM Netanyahu. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

?Speaking to the foreign and foreign language press, Prime Minister Netanyahu challenged the Palestinians to return to the peace talks as he awaits President Trump’s “ultimate” deal.

It’s rare that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces the Israeli press. It’s very rare that Netanyahu takes questions from the foreign and foreign language media. Wednesday night was one such occasion, as the Government Press Office hosted Israel’s 70th anniversary New Year’s reception for hundreds of journalists.

Held in an opulent reception hall at the new Orient Hotel in Jerusalem, the event featured a range of entertainment and an impressive buffet, but less than 10 minutes of the Prime Minister on stage answering journalists’ questions.

In his opening statement, before taking only three questions, Netanyahu blamed the Palestinians’ support of terrorism for the lack of a peace process in the Middle East and told the foreign journalists not to give Abbas “credence.”

Netanyahu went on to praise American Ambassador David Friedman for placing blame on the Palestinians’ support of terrorism for the Tuesday night terror shooting that killed Rabbi Raziel Shevach. Netanyahu told foreign journalists, “I want to congratulate Ambassador Friedman who tweeted the truth, unvarnished.”

Friedman had earlier tweeted, “An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further as to why there is no peace.” The PA reacted angrily to Friedman’s comments, and accused the ambassador of “prejudiced and selective attitude toward the occupation, settlement construction, and the Palestinians just and legitimate national rights.”

‘Abbas’ government supports murderers’

Netanyahu said, “Abbas’s government is supporting the kind of murderers that shot dead a father of six. Such people in our jails get $355 million a year, they and their families, from the Palestinian Authority. That is something that is untenable.”

Netanyahu berated the media charging that they fail to adequately report on the fact that the PA pays “salaries” to imprisoned terrorists and their families.

“Funding and incentivizing murder doesn’t exactly advance peace.” Netanyahu added, “The Palestinian leadership teach their people, ‘Kill an Israel and get rich.’ Now what kind of message does this send to impressionable Palestinian children?”

Netanyahu has of late been a very strong critic of the media and has even adopted President Trump’s phrase “fake news.” Netanyahu challenged the foreign journalists to write stories about his government’s unprecedented NIS 15 billion programs to improve conditions for Israel’s Arab population. He also told the gathering that they were misleading the public when they describe Iran’s government as “moderate” due to its hardline and repressive policies.

Responding to a question about US and Israeli cuts in financial support for the Palestinian Authority and whether those cuts could lead to a collapse of the PA, Netanyahu briefly replied, “I don’t think it will lead to a collapse of the Palestinian Authority, but I think they should redirect their funds to other things.”...

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