‘Don’t reject US plan before it’s even presented’

Netanyahu in recordings obtained by Arutz Sheva: If a Palestinian leader will genuinely want peace, we can make peace.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Netanyahu at the Warsaw conference
Netanyahu at the Warsaw conference
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

In a closed meeting at the Warsaw conference last week, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner presented some general outlines regarding the peace plan to be presented by the United States after the Israeli elections.

Kushner said that the plan would demand concessions from both sides, stressing that the Arab peace initiative had not produced results and was no longer relevant (the recording can be found at the bottom of this page).

Some of the participants in the discussion responded to Kushner's remarks and the last one to respond was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Arutz Sheva obtained a recording of his remarks.

“Any time Israel encountered an Arab leader who wanted peace, we made peace,” said Netanyahu, who mentioned Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and promised that "if we encounter a Palestinian leader who will genuinely want peace, even declare it and move towards that goal, then I believe we can make peace.”

“It’s true that if we make progress and indeed a formal peace with the Palestinians, it would help us enormously in the Arab world and I would say with parts of the Muslim world, but I think it’s equally true that the normalization of relations with the Arab world also helps achieve peace with the Palestinians, and I’m happy to say that there’s progress on that,” he continued.

Regarding the US peace plan itself, Netanyahu said, “We have a fresh approach, a new approach, and I want to congratulate both Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt for taking the file. Of course we’ll wait to see what the final plan will look like. It will be presented after the Israeli elections – as you can imagine, that takes up a little bit of my time now.”

“I don’t think that any of us should reject the plan and reject this initiative by the American administration before it’s even presented,” said Netanyahu, in criticism towards Palestinian Authority leaders who have rejected the peace plan outright.

“I am told that because we have excellent relations with the current administration, that is a cause for the Palestinians to reject such a discussion, which I find amazing. I had very good relations with the previous American administration, maybe not as good as the current one, but that didn’t lead me to say to Mr. [John] Kerry, ‘Well I won’t discuss this with you and don’t present it to me because you tilt the other way.’ In fact, I spent many many hours and days and weeks with Mr. Kerry and I was willing to discuss the plan that he put forward with President Obama.”

“I think that if we want to have a chance at peace, then we should look at what the proposal is and that’s something that I intend to do,” Netanyahu stressed. “Now, I hope that I will be able to do it in my current capacity, but that requires going back to Israel, so I want to ask your forgiveness if I leave a little early.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, Netanyahu sought to bring the discussions back to the common denominator that unites the participants, saying, "We have to confront and roll back the danger of Iran. I think that includes the JCPOA. I think that if there’s something that can come out of this conference, it is the awareness that we are united in resisting Iranian aggression for the future and peace of the Middle East.”