'U.S. told us don't take Netanyahu seriously'
Senior Palestinian official declares Obama's promises are 'what counts'
Posted: June 15, 2009
1:45 pm Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority has received signs from the U.S. that it should not take seriously Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent major address, according to a top PA official speaking to WND.
Nimer Hamad, senior political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, also said the PA is not concerned about Netanyahu's policies since Abbas relies on American support for key Palestinian demands.
During Netanyahu's speech Sunday, the Israeli leader called for a demilitarized Palestinian state and said Jerusalem would always be united under Jewish sovereignty.
Hamad countered: "No matter what is the position of the Israeli government and no matter what are the statements of Netanyahu, what counts is what was promised to us by Obama, which is totally the opposite [of Netanyahu's positions]."
"We received encouraging signs from the Americans that we should not take seriously into consideration Netanyahu's speech," Hamad said.
Hamad said the Obama administration holds views that strongly differ from Netanyahu's.
"The U.S. is committed to the evacuation of settlements (in the West Bank)," he said. "We know from what we understand that also Jerusalem will be determined in the final negotiations that will take place on the basis of an international community that doesn't recognize eastern Jerusalem as part of the state of Israel."
The Abbas adviser claimed the Obama administration "understands that the Israeli policy is dangerous not only for the region but also for the U.S."
Hamad said Netanyahu's speech was "destructive for the peace process."
He surmised the Israeli leader's statements were "in the first level directed to his partners in the government and the radicals in Israel."
Separately, a top PA official, speaking to WND from Ramallah on condition his name be withheld, said the Palestinians "never felt strong like we are feeling now."
That PA official claimed the Palestinians "never felt like we had a sympathetic administration like there is now in Washington"
"We know also that Netanyahu will be obliged to carry out the vision of the U.S., which is right now closer to ours than to Israel," he said.
In a speech branded as a response to Obama's Mideast policies, Netanyahu on Sunday called for the "immediate" resumption of "peace talks" with the Palestinians. The Israeli leader said he would support a demilitarized Palestinian state if the Palestinians meet certain conditions, such as first combating terror and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
Netanyahu's remarks were a departure from recent statements in which he refused to tacitly endorse a Palestinian state.
"To achieve peace, courage and honesty are necessary from both sides," Netanyahu said. "The Palestinians must say, 'Enough with this conflict. We recognize Israel's right to exist and want to live by their side."
He continued, "A public Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish nation-state is a prerequisite for regional peace."
"For peace," Netanyahu said, "we must ensure that Palestinians have no weapons and the opportunity to create pacts with hostile forces. We ask that the U.S. commit that in the end-deal the Palestinian territory will be demilitarized. Without that, sooner or later, we will have another 'Hamastan.' And Israel can't agree to that."
Netanyahu continued, "If we receive a commitment to Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state and a demilitarized Palestinian state, we can reach a final agreement."
Netanyahu said Jerusalem would remain the united capital of Israel – a nonstarter for the Palestinians. He also ruled out the option of granting so-called Palestinian refugees the right to settle within Israeli borders.
In a section of his speech that likely did not sit well with Hamas' Yousef, Netanyahu said that Israel would not negotiate with terrorists who wish to destroy it and said that Palestinians must choose between path of peace and Hamas.
Addressing the issue of Jewish communities in the strategic, biblical West Bank, Netanyahu stated, "In the interim there is no intention to create new settlements or expand existing towns, while not preventing the natural needs of settlers, who are not enemies."
Netanyahu was alluding to continuing "natural growth," or adding housing units to settlements to accommodate for the existing settlement population. He is openly defying the Obama administration's strong call for an end to all settlement activity, including natural growth.
There were several aspects to Netanayhu's speech that were direct responses to Obama's address to the Muslim world in Cairo two weeks ago.
During his address, Obama pointed to Israeli West Bank settlements as specifically undermining "efforts to achieve peace."
Netanyahu today stated, "Let me use the most simple words – the root of the struggle is the refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. The initial Arab refusal was to a Jewish state in any location, before Israeli presence in the West Bank."
"The closer we get to an agreement with the Palestinians, the further it is rejected," Netanyahu continued. "We tried a withdrawal with an agreement, without one, a partial withdraw and we offered a near-complete withdraw. We uprooted Jewish settlers from their homes, and received a barrage of missiles in return."
Also in his address, Obama indicated Israel's creation was a response to "anti-Semitism in Europe, culminat[ing] in an unprecedented Holocaust."
Netanyahu pointed out the Jewish people have been linked to the land of Israel for over 3,000 years.
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Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem bureau chief, is known for his regular interviews with Mideast terror leaders and his popular segments on America's top radio programs. His newly released book is "The Late Great State of Israel: How Enemies Within and Without Threaten the Jewish Nation's Survival." Follow Klein on Twitter.