Official: Netanyahu Won't Offer Concessions

Senior official says PM will not present Kerry with concessions towards the Palestinians during their meeting in Berlin.

Ben Ariel,

Netanyahu and Kerry (archive)
Netanyahu and Kerry (archive)
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not present Secretary of State John Kerry with any concessions or good-will gestures towards the Palestinians during their meeting in Berlin this coming Thursday, a senior official said Sunday night.

"The prime minister will demand an end to incitement and violence, and that the Palestinian Authority take concrete steps to prove it," the senior official told Haaretz.

Netanyahu's flight to Berlin could be canceled should the security situation further escalate, the official added.

Kerry said earlier on Sunday he would meet Netanyahu as well as Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas later this week.

"Later this week I will meet with prime minister Netanyahu because he will be in Germany... we will meet there," Kerry said in Paris, where he made a brief stop as part of a Europe tour that has already taken him to Milan, thus confirming a report from Friday.

"And then I will go to the region and I will meet with president (Mahmoud) Abbas, I will meet with King Abdullah (of Jordan) and others, he added.

Kerry and Netanyahu’s meeting will come following several controversial statements made by Kerry and his spokespeople with regards to the ongoing terror wave in Israel.

In one interview Kerry had said that the latest violence was because of Israeli “settlement activity”. The comments were slammed by MK Motti Yogev as being “irrational”.

State Department spokesman John Kirby later explained to reporters that the Secretary of State was not assigning blame when he said a "massive increase in settlements" over the past year had been followed by the current outbreak of violence.

In a separate incident, Kirby himself asserted that Israel may have used "excessive force" against Palestinian Arab terrorists.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon blasted Kirby's contention, calling it utter nonsense.  Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan also lashed out at the State Department, accusing it of "accept[ing] lies...without investigation" as well as harboring a longstanding animosity toward Israel. 

On Thursday night, however, Kerry reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorism and called on Abbas to stop inciting to violence against Israelis. He later repeated those comments in a telephone conversation with Netanyahu.