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PM Netanyahu Meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the evening of Thursday, 2 January, met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and made the following remarks at the start of their meeting:

"Welcome back to Jerusalem, John.

I want to use this opportunity to express once again my personal appreciation and the appreciation of the people of Israel for your unremitting personal efforts to advance peace between us and the Palestinians. I know that you are committed to peace; I know that I am committed to peace; but, unfortunately, given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace.

A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes. 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? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I’m wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women, axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets. What’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-à-vis Israelis and vis-à-vis the State of Israel?

So it’s not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks even after we learned that at least in one case, I stress at least in one case, those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them. In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority continues its unabated incitement against the State of Israel. This Palestinian government incitement is rampant. You see it in the state-controlled media, the government-controlled media, in the schools, in text books, in kindergartens. You see it in every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel.

This is not the way to achieve peace. President Abbas must lead his people away from terror and incitement towards reconciliation and peace.

John, the people of Israel and I are prepared to make such an historic peace. But we must have a Palestinian partner who's equally prepared to make this peace. 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 are 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.

Mr. Secretary, John, I look forward to continuing our discussions. I hope that together we can forge a way to a genuine and lasting peace, a secure peace. Because the only peace that will endure in the Middle East as it really is, is a peace that Israel can defend.

I am determined, above all else, to defend my people and my state, and I will never compromise on the security of Israel and its citizens and on the vital interests that protect our future.

I think you know, John, more than most, how important it is to ensure the security of Israel. And I hope that despite the shifting sands in the Middle East, together we can build a rock solid foundation for security and for a secure peace. That’s the job we’re going to do in the coming days and weeks.



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