Gantz: the ultimatum of the 1967 Abbas lines “will be difficult to lower”

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday evening that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s demand that Israel withdraw from the 1967 borders within a year was “a big tree that will be hard to come down from. “.

In the Israeli government’s first high-level response to Abba’s ultimatum during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Gantz, who met with the head of the Palestinian Authority last month, praised Abbas for pursuing a diplomatic resolution while lambasting his threats against the Jewish state.

“The fact that he continues to call for a political solution is a good thing, but he issued an ultimatum and climbed a large tree that will be difficult to come down from,” Gantz said in an interview with Channel 13.

“It’s important to remember one thing – no one is going anywhere,” the defense minister said. “It is important to recognize this and that the only way to face this reality is to develop security, develop the economy and strengthen the governance of the Palestinian Authority. “

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Abbas offered to negotiate with Israel over the next 12 months, but threatened to overturn recognition of Israel by the Palestinian Authority and to turn to the International Court. justice if Jerusalem did not withdraw from the territory captured during the Sixth Day Wars.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague is currently investigating Israel and the Palestinians for war crimes committed since 2014.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah on May 5, 2020 (Flash90)

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan criticized the speech on Friday, saying it highlighted Abbas and the Palestinians’ rejection of peace. “Those who truly support peace and negotiations do not issue illusory threats and ultimatums from the UN platform,” he said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said his government would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state.

“I oppose a Palestinian state – I think that would be a terrible mistake,” Bennett told public broadcaster Kan earlier this month.

Bennett does not intend to meet with his Palestinian counterpart either.

“I don’t see any logic in meeting someone who is chasing IDF soldiers in The Hague and accusing them of war crimes, and at the same time paying salaries to terrorists,” Bennett said in the same interview.

When asked if he would meet Abbas again on Saturday, Gantz said: “My meeting with him was for security purposes, to ensure stability on the ground and I will do it again as developments occur and if necessary. . “

During his speech at the UN, Abbas reiterated his call for an international peace conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the supervision of the Middle East Quartet, a joint initiative of the United States, the European Union. , Russia and the United Nations.

“Do the leaders of Israel dream of maintaining the occupation forever?… Aren’t there other options, like freedom, for example? Abbas asked rhetorically.

The PA president also urged the international community to increase pressure on Israel to end its military rule in the West Bank.

“It’s not incitement or anti-Semitism. It is the duty of every free person in the world, ”Abbas said.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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