Netanyahu Rips Critics for Linking Terror Wave to Stalled Peace Process
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the media at a press conference for giving scant coverage to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' incitement that has culminated in random stabbing attacks against Jews.
"You just saw examples of him lying, barefaced lies. 'An innocent child executed by Israelis.' No. He’s not innocent and he wasn’t executed. He tried to murder innocent people, almost succeeded. That’s a lie," Netanyahu said in reference to the Palestinian version of the story of two teenage cousins who stabbed a man in his 20s then stabbed a boy on his bike outside a candy shop. One attacker was killed and one was injured, and is in good condition while the boy they stabbed is in critical condition -- "so the attacker comes out on the cheap," Bibi noted.
"You should direct your questions to [Abbas]. You can’t give him a pass. In fact, the international community has been giving Abu Mazen a pass, all these years, and all these months, and all these weeks, and all these days. And when you give somebody a pass when they’re inciting violence, they continue to incite violence. And guess what? That violence has picked up, by Palestinian youngsters, and they go out and murder Jews. And they murder peace, of course."
Netanyahu stressed that "this wave of attacks is not the result of lack of political horizon" on the peace process.
"We've been suffering terror attacks for the last 95 years. 1920, 1921, 1936 to 1939, the fedayeen attacks, the Intifada attacks, they were actually at their height during the beginning of the Oslo peace process. And people said, well, this is because these are enemies of peace, so the result, the explanation for the terrorist waves that we had then was the advance of peace," he said.
"Now they say: you have terrorist attacks because there is no peace. Neither is true. They're attacking us not because they want peace or don’t want peace. It’s because they don’t want us here. If they're frustrated, I assure you that frustration will continue because we're going to continue to be here."
Secretary of State John Kerry said at Harvard on Tuesday that "there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years" and "now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement" in the peace process.
"Most people I talk to have a pretty damn good sense of exactly what has to be done and where it goes. It’s a question of making the judgments and having courage to go there," Kerry added.
Netanyahu said today that "as far as settlements are concerned – this is not a result of a massive wave of settlements because there's not been a massive wave of settlements."
"And second, we have something else, and the facts count. It is the very killers themselves who explain why they're doing what they're doing. They leave behind Facebook pages in which they cite and repeat Palestinian incitement about the al-Aqsa Mosque. All the lies that are said about us trying to bring down the mosque or change the status quo, they cite that as the reason for their activity. And you can’t fit a false template on reality," he continued.
"This is what is driving this current wave. I’m sorry. The old models don’t apply. There’s a Palestinian attempt to inflame violence based on the false allegations that we are changing the Temple Mount, now on the false allegations that we’re executing innocent civilians. It doesn’t wash. And I expect our friends around the world to look at these facts, recognize them for what they are and I think, to condemn these Palestinian attacks and to demand from Abu Mazen to stop the incitement and to restore calm."
Netanyahu also stressed that, despite the criticism of excessive force from the United States, Israel is using no more force than police in any American city would use "if they had people wielding knives, meat cleavers, axes, trying to kill people on their streets."
"What do you think would happen in New York if you saw people rushing into crowds trying to murder people? What do you think they would do? Do you think they would do anything different from what we’re doing? They might, actually, but certainly not less. Okay? And what would happen in Washington? And what would happen in London? Or what would happen in Paris or Rome or Moscow or anywhere else?" he said. "Of course, this allegation is totally false. It’s utterly false. It’s also utterly unfair, because it’s so obviously patently false. So I expect fairness, and I expect to put blame where it’s due."
The "first order of the day in fighting terrorism," the prime minister said, "is moral clarity."
"Nothing justifies terrorism. Nothing exonerates it. And stop trying to explain it away. This is terrorism, murder, pure and simple. Abu Mazen is inciting murder. Make him accountable and stop trying to justify it in any way – not with settlements, not with peace process, not with anything. It is unjustifiable and unacceptable, and the mere fact that this is brought up as a possible explanation, of course gives, I have to say – gives the terrorists a justification that they don’t even use. They might now. But they haven’t up to now, and that tells you a lot."