With Kerry in town, Netanyahu calls out Palestinian incitement
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem • Netanyahu: Israel is prepared to make a historic peace deal, but we must have a Palestinian partner who's equally prepared • Kerry: Tough decisions ahead.
Shlomo Cesana, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Thursday
Photo credit: GPO
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry returned to the Middle East on Thursday as he continue efforts to reach a "framework agreement" between Israel and the Palestinians. After landing at Ben-Gurion Internation Airport, Kerry went to Jerusalem, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kerry was set to met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Friday.
In a joint press conference with Netanyahu on Thursday, Kerry said the goal of his latest trip was "to narrow the differences on a framework that will provide the agreed guidelines for permanent status negotiations."
"This will take time and it will take compromise from both sides, but an agreed framework would be a significant breakthrough," Kerry said. "It would address all of the core issues. It would create the fixed, defined parameters by which the parties would then know where they are going and what the end result can be. It would address all of the core issues that we have been addressing since day one, including borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem, mutual recognition, and the end of conflict and of all claims."
Wary of criticism in Israel regarding "U.S. pressure," Kerry stated he had come to "facilitate the parties' own efforts," rather than impose U.S. ideas.
"In the weeks and months ahead, both sides are going to need to make tough choices to ensure that peace is not just a possibility but is a reality for Israelis and Palestinians for now and for future generations," Kerry said.
"It's a tough road," Kerry said. "But this is not mission impossible."
"The commitment of the United States to Israel is ironclad," Kerry said. "We know that Israel has to be strong to make peace. And we also know that peace will make Israel stronger not just with its near neighbors, but throughout the world."
Kerry praised Netanyahu for making a "very difficult decision," referring perhaps to Israel's release of 26 Palestinian prisoners earlier this week.
Kerry also praised both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for continuing negotiations despite the pressure they faced.
Standing beside Kerry, Netanyahu questioned the commitment of the Palestinians to reaching a peace agreement, accusing Palestinian leaders of orchestrating a campaign of "rampant" incitement against Israel.
"The people of Israel and I are prepared to make such a historic peace, but we must have a Palestinian partner who's equally prepared to make this peace," Netanyahu said. "Peace means ending incitement; it means fighting terrorism and condemning terrorism; it means recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people; it means meeting Israel's security needs; and it means being prepared to truly end the conflict once and for all. If we're to succeed in our joint effort, President Abbas must reject terror and embrace peace. I hope he doesn't miss again the opportunity to give Israelis and Palestinians a better future."
"A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes," Netanyahu said. "To glorify the murderers of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas ... say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes?"
On Friday morning, Kerry met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem.