At the beginning of his meeting with the visiting US Vice President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday greeted Biden while noting the Palestinian Authority's (PA) lauding of a lethal attack which killed a US citizen the day before.
In an attack in Jaffa (Yafo) on Tuesday night, an Arab terrorist conducted a mass stabbing, wounding 10 victims and murdering American tourist Taylor Allen Force. Police said Biden's visit, which began Tuesday, may have been a catalyst for the wave of attacks in the past two days.
Netanyahu thanked Biden for visiting with his wife Jill, his daughter-in-law Hallie, and his grandchildren Natalie and Hunter. He added, "I want to thank you personally for your, for our personal friendship of over 30 years. We've known each other a long time. We've gone through many trials and tribulations. And we have an enduring bond that represents the enduring bond between our people."
"As you well know, the last 24 hours have been very difficult for Israel, including this morning. Twelve people were injured in five terrorist attacks. An American citizen, Taylor Force, was murdered. Taylor was a graduate of West Point, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, a graduate student of Vanderbilt University. And I want to extend our deepest condolences to his family and wish the injured a speedy recovery. And I know I speak for you because you've said these very words."
Netanyahu said he appreciated Biden's condemnation of terrorism, but noted that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "has not only refused to condemn these terrorist attacks, his Fatah party actually praised the murderer of this American citizen as a Palestinian martyr and a hero."
"Now, this is wrong. And this failure to condemn terrorism should be condemned itself by everybody in the international community," stressed Netanyahu.
Earlier on Wednesday Biden implicitly criticized the PA himself, when he said the US "condemns the failure to condemn these attacks," and slammed the "rhetoric that incites violence."
At the start of their meeting, Netanyahu continued, saying, "we have taken many steps in recent months to fight Palestinian terrorism, and we're taking even stronger measures now. I believe that to fight terror, all civilized societies must stand together. And while Israel has many partners in this decisive battle, we have no better partner than the United States of America."
The prime minister outlined challenges in the joint war on terror, noting the incitement in Palestinian society, as well as the collapse of states in the Middle East.
He then said there are also "great opportunities," arguing that "the first opportunity is to deepen ties between Israel and the moderate Arab states, and this could help us build a solid foundation for peace and stability. We can also make Israel energy independent, an exporter of natural gas to the region and beyond."