Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Office on Friday replied to the Quartet report on the Middle East peace process which was released earlier in the day.
In a statement, the PMO welcomed the fact that the report called out the Palestinian Authority's (PA) continuing incitement to terrorism, but rejected the report's assertion that Israel's so-called “settlement construction” harmed peace efforts.
“In the 24 hours before the publication of the Quartet report, Palestinian terrorists stabbed and shot innocent Israelis three times, leaving two dead and others wounded. Today a young father was killed and his wife and children injured when their car was riddled with gunfire. Yesterday a 13 year-old Israeli girl was stabbed to death while she slept in her bed. Not only did the Palestinian Authority fail to condemn this gruesome murder, it referred to the murderer as a 'martyr' in official media,” the statement said.
“Palestinian praise for murderers today inspires those who will strike tomorrow. This response reflects the moral bankruptcy of the Palestinian leadership and leaves little doubt about its true intentions.
“Israel therefore welcomes the Quartet’s recognition of the centrality of Palestinian incitement and violence to the perpetuation of the conflict. This culture of hatred poisons minds and destroys lives and stands as the single greatest obstacle to progress towards peace.
“The report unfortunately says nothing about the payments made by the Palestinian leadership to terrorists and their families. The graver the violence, the greater the payment. This Palestinian practice must stop.
“Israel shares the Quartet’s historical commitment to advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace through direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions.
“In previous agreements, Israel and the Palestinians committed to discuss every difficult issue exclusively through direct, bilateral negotiations. Nevertheless, the record shows a history of repeated Palestinian rejection of offers to negotiate and compromise from Israeli governments across the political spectrum. Israel cannot negotiate peace with itself.
“Israel also notes the Quartet’s concern about the military buildup in Gaza and the threat posed by Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization, to both Israeli and Palestinian lives.
“We regret the failure of the Quartet to address the real core of the conflict: the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in any boundaries,” the statement continued, noting that the assertion that Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria is an obstacle to peace is a “myth”.
“When Israel froze settlements, it did not get peace. When Israel uprooted every settlement in Gaza, it did not get peace. It got war,” the statement stressed.
The Prime Minister's Office also rejected the Quartet's statement in the report that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria prevents reaching a two-state solution.
“The presence of nearly 1.8 million Arabs in Israel isn’t a barrier to peace; it is a testament to our pluralism and commitment to equality,” it said.
“Israel,” stressed the statement, “rejects any attempt to draw moral equivalence between construction and terrorism. So too do we reject the parallels suggested between the campaign of Palestinian terrorism and the violence of marginal elements in Israeli society. The former is lauded by the Palestinian leadership. The latter is utterly condemned and rejected by Israelis across the board.
“Israel will continue to strive for a genuine, negotiated peace based on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vision of two states for two peoples. While the report includes numerous factual and policy assertions with which we take issue, Israel will discuss with the Quartet envoys ways to explore moving toward this end,” it concluded.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)