Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who usually couches his statements in graceful, urbane language – delivered a curt statement about peace on Sunday night, addressed specifically to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
“On peace, I have a message for Abu Mazen,” he said during remarks at an Ambassadors’ Conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Abu Mazen is the nom de guerre used by Abbas, to this very day.)
“There is no alternative for American leadership in the diplomatic process,” Netanyahu said. “Whoever is not ready to talk with the Americans about peace – does not want peace,” Netanyahu said.
His statement was a direct response to the slap at U.S. President Donald Trump by Abbas over the American leader’s recognition last month of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
For the past month, Abbas has been hurling curses and personal insults at Trump, and has repeatedly said the Palestinian Authority will never again allow the “biased” U.S. to broker a peace deal on its behalf with Israel.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet in Jerusalem on Monday (Jan. 22) with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived with his wife Karen in Israel Sunday night for a two-day visit.