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Netanyahu Holds PA Accountable for 'Every Gaza Rocket'

Netanyahu notes unity deal has changed dynamics to Japanese FM, says 'we both face rogue states'; tells Emperor of similarities.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/13/2014, 5:55 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu, Japanese FM Fumio Kishida
Binyamin Netanyahu, Japanese FM Fumio Kishida
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday declared that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be held responsible for violence from Gaza in light of the unity deal. His comments came while on an official visit to Japan, which will end on Thursday.

Meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Netanyahu mentioned the reconciliation deal made between the PA and Hamas in late April which torpedoed the peace talks.

"Hamas is committed to our destruction. We remain committed to advancing the peace, preferably a negotiated peace. But we can only negotiate with a government whose constituent parts are committed to peace," stated Netanyahu.

The prime minister added that as long as PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas remains committed to the unity deal with Hamas, "a terrorist organization that regularly fires rockets into Israel, then we'll have to hold him accountable for every rocket that is fired from Gaza, to Israel."

Netanyahu mentioned that he hopes "that this pact is dissolved and we can find a way to return to genuine negotiations with a genuine peace partner."

"We both face rogue states"

Echoing his comments to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in their meeting on Monday, Netanyahu remarked on the danger posed to both Israel and Japan by "a rogue state arming itself with nuclear weapons." In Japan's case the rogue state is North Korea.

"We obviously sympathize and understand the predicament facing you. We are faced with such a rogue state in the form of Iran and its quest to develop nuclear weapons," said Netanyahu.

Noting a UN report which on Monday revealed Iran's methods of evading the sanctions that were imposed on it, Netanyahu called the report "another example of how Iran continues to deceive the world and advance its nuclear program."

"Clearly the Ayatollahs cannot be trusted, and if the international community wants to avoid the specter of nuclear terrorism, they must assure that Iran, the foremost sponsor of terrorism on the planet, not have the capability to develop nuclear weapons," stated Netanyahu.

"This is our number one concern but I think it should be shared by everyone who is concerned by the proliferation of nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons," concluded the prime minister.

In Monday's meeting with Abe, the two prime ministers "affirmed the importance of bilateral defense cooperation", according to an official statement. "They agreed on the visit of officers of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Israel."

"We both have overcome hardships"

Netanyahu and his wife Sarah also met with Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Kyoto Shimbun reports that Netanyahu said "Japan and Israel share the common feature of having overcome hardships," referring to the Holocaust and the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the close of World War II.

Emperor Akihito agreed, adding "the Holocaust was a very heartbreaking event."

The natural disaster that struck Tohoku in eastern Japan in 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami wrought massive damage including damage on nuclear reactors, was also discussed. Over 15,000 deaths were reported in the national tragedy; at the time Israel sent an IDF medical team to the affected area.

Akihito remarked "we are very grateful for the various forms of support we received from Israel at the time of the disaster," reports Sankei News.

Netanyahu responded by saying "not only the government, but also (Israeli) citizens who witnessed the great tragedy gave their heartfelt assistance," to which the Emperor emphasized "we are very thankful for those feelings."