Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas must choose between peace with Israel and peace with the rival Hamas movement, the Israeli Radio and Israel’s daily, Haaretz, reported. The Israeli Prime Minister, also claimed that the Palestinians are not willing or interested in reaching a comprehensive peace agreement with Tel Aviv.
His statements were made while referring to a planned visit by President Mahmoud Abbas to the Gaza Strip to hold talks with the Hamas leadership.
This would be the first visit of Abbas to Gaza since bloody clashes between his forces and Hamas’ security forces and gunmen in 2007 and 2008.
He said that Palestinian leaders talk about peace during talks with foreign officials or while on diplomatic tours, “while at the same time, they incite against Israel when they return to the territories”.
During a Knesset session on Tuesday, Netanyahu had a heated argument with opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, when she said that, when in power, her Kadima Party was so close to signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu responded by saying that this peace she is talking about was based on dismantling and evacuating Har Homa settlement “Jabal Abu Ghneim Mountain”, and the settlement blocs of Ariel and Maaleh Adumim.
Netanyahu further stated that instead of evacuating and dismantling settlements, Israel should offer a land swap.
Netanyahu and his coalition partners, mainly the fundamentalist partners of the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party, and other fundamentalist coalition partners, have policies that heavily support settlement construction and expansion.
They also refuse to hold talks on the future of occupied East Jerusalem, as they maintain that Jerusalem will always be the united capital of Israel.
Consecutive Israeli governments refuse to hold talks on Jerusalem, the internationally-guaranteed right of return of the Palestinian refugees, borders and national resources.
Israel never recognized any UN and General Assembly resolutions calling for a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and the Right of Return of the refugees.