(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas offered starkly different visions of how to achieve peace, with Netanyahu inviting Abbas to speak to the Israeli Knesset, while Abbas solely blamed Israel for the current impasse on peace.
The Israeli leader blamed the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians on their refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state, not settlements.
“This conflict is not about the settlements, it never was,” he said. “If the Palestinians had said yes to a Jewish state in 1947 there would have been no war… and when they do finally say yes to a Jewish state we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.”
On the current deadlock in negotiations with the Palestinians, Netanyahu told Abbas he wants him to address the Israeli Knesset and that he’s prepared to “speak peace with the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.”
Netanyahu also spoke about regional developments, including the warming relations between Israel and the Arab world, which sees Israel as an ally against threats like Iran and the Islamic State.
“The biggest change is taking place in Arab world. For first time in my lifetime many other states recognize us not as the enemy but as an ally,” he said.
On Iran, Netanyahu said that the threat a nuclear Iran poses “is not behind us, it’s before us. Israel will not allow the terror state of Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Not now. Not in a decade. Not ever.”
Meanwhile, in his address earlier Thursday to the U.N. General Assembly, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed most of the failure towards reaching a two-state solution and the stalemate in negotiations on Israel.
Abbas called on Israel to cease expanding settlements, “collective punishment and its demolition of Palestinian homes,” as well as “extrajudicial executions” and “aggression and provocations against the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque” on the Temple Mount.
“I am compelled to again warn that what the Israeli government is doing in pursuit of its expansionist settlement plans will destroy whatever possibility and hopes are left for the two-state solution on the 1967 borders,” Abbas said.
He also said he’d seek a U.N. Security Council resolution that would denounce Israeli settlements and "the terror of the settlers against the Palestinian people."