At GA, Bibi Calls for Resumption of Peace Talks With Palestinians

By JTA

Published November 09, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the immediate resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

“Let us seize the moment to reach an historic agreement; let us begin talks immediately,” Netanyahu said, appealing to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his speech Monday in Washington to the Jewish Federations of North America.

Netanyahu repeatedly called on Abbas to drop Palestinian preconditions; the Palestinian leadership wants Israel to institute a total settlement freeze as a precondition for talks.

Netanyahu chided the Palestinians for turning aside what he and the Obama administration have suggested is an “unprecedented” offer to freeze some settlement while allowing for “natural growth” and building in Jerusalem. “No Israeli government has been so willing to restrain settlement activity,” he said.

Netanyahu did not mention earlier Israeli preconditions, including leaving off the table for now Jerusalem and refugee issues, and a refusal to deal with Hamas, the terrorist group in control in Gaza.

However, he went further than he has in the past in outlining what he means by saying he wants the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

“What does the Jewish state mean for the Palestinians?” he said. “It means that they must recognize that the fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees is gone, that they give up irredentist claims to the Negev and the Galilee, and that they declare irrevocably that the conflict is finally over,” he said.

This latest formulation omits a demand for an explicit recognition of Israel as Jewish, which is what Palestinian negotiators have until now resisted. Palestinian negotiators have said that such a recognition is not theirs to make; they also worry it would prejudice the rights of Israeli Arabs.

The call for an immediate resumption of talks appears to supersede the recent call by Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, to set aside for now talk of a two-state solution.

Netanyahu said once again the outcome of such talks would be a Palestinian state, albeit one that is demilitarized.

Netanyahu also lavished praise on President Obama, who sustains strong support among American Jews but who is unpopular in Israel.

The Israeli prime minister thanked Obama for opposing efforts in the United Nations to advance the Goldstone report, which accuses Israel of war crimes during last winter’s Gaza war, for sustaining the U.S.-Israel security relationship, and for leading international efforts to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Obama was due to address the GA in Washington on Tuesday, but canceled to attend a memorial service in Texas for victims of the shooting rampage at a military base in Fort Hood last week.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.