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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames Palestinians for lack of peace in region

'One thing I will never negotiate is our right to the one and only Jewish state' Mr Netanyahu tells UN General Assembly

Samuel Osborne
Friday 23 September 2016 09:21 BST
Netanyahu blames Palestinians for lack of peace in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Palestinian leaders are "poisoning the future" and are to blame for the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Mr Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to revive peace talks, but rejected a freeze on Israeli settlement building, saying the issue has "always been about the existence of a Jewish state".

"I am ready to negotiate all final status issues, but one thing I will never negotiate is our right to the one and only Jewish state", the prime minister said.

Mr Netanyahu has previously rejected the 1967 borders as the basis for talks and denounced what he called Palestinian incitement.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly before Mr Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticised Israel's "abhorrent" settlement policy and demanded the UN take a bigger role in the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr Abbas urged the 193-member General Assembly to declare 2017 "the international year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people".

He insisted "our hand remains outstretched for making peace," but said Israel refuses to "abandon the mentality of hegemony, expansionism and colonisation."

President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas during his address to the General Debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, 22 September, 2016 (EPA)

In his speech against Palestinian incitement, Mr Netanyahu said: "Now here's the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future."

He asked the audience to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy named Ali.

"Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honouring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.

"When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he'd detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas's adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here's a quote, "to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them." Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas's Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a "heroic act". On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem." Direct quote.

"Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison? Here's what she tells him. She tells him he'd be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he'd get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority.

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

"All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour."

Israeli army escorts Palestinian children to school

Mr Netanyahu also extended an invitation to Mr Abbas urging him to address Israel's parliament, which the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN rejected as a "new gimmick".

"Will he attend the International Conference proposed by France and supported by many to be held by the end of the year?" Riyad Mansour said in a statement to The Associated Press.

"You can measure Netanyahu's interest in achieving peace through the number of illegal settlements he builds and Palestinian homes he destroys. He has chosen occupation over peace."

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