Bibi Throws Ball Back to Abbas

Prime Minister Netanyahu says he will renew the freeze on building for Jews in Judea and Samaria—if Abbas recognizes Israel as a Jewish State.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 17:46

PM Binyamin Netanyahu
PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threw the “diplomatic ball” back in to the court of Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Monday, offering to renew the building freeze on new homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria if Abbas recognizes Israel as a Jewish State.

"If the Palestinian leadership will unequivocally say to its people that it recognizes Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my Cabinet and ask for another moratorium on building," Netanyahu told the Knesset at the opening of its winter session. "Just as the Palestinians expect us to recognize their state, we expect reciprocal treatment.”

He said that a clear statement by Abbas on the Jewish character of Israel “would create wide-ranging trust among the Israeli people, who have lost trust in the Palestinian will for peace over the last 10 years."

He reminded legislators that the 10-month freeze that expired three weeks ago was designed to meet Abbas’ condition for sitting down with Israel for face-to-face discussions on the proposed new Arab country within Israel’s current borders and to be headed by the PA.

"The Palestinians wasted 10 months and now they demand to continue the [settlement] freeze]. I hope their demand isn't a ploy to avoid the concessions that must be made in order to achieve a peace deal,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said. "Unfortunately up until now the Palestinians have not responded to this call and the United States is searching for different ways to continue the talks," he said.

The Prime Minister quoted David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, who once declared, "The State that will rise will be Jewish in its function, purpose, and aim. Not a country of Jews settled in a land but a state for Jews, the Jewish people.”