Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, praised by the Obama Administration and lauded by the European Union, contained three operational diplomatic steps
A call for meetings with “all Arab leaders.”
A call for “Economic peace.”
A call for renewed Israeli negotiations with Palestinians “without preconditions.”
Following the Israeli Prime Minister’s address, the Israeli foreign Ministry wasted no time in establishing new working teams to follow up on all three issues
Israel has announced new diplomatic initiatives in Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco, new economic plans for cooperative joint Israeli-Palestinian business ventures, and new feelers put out to Palestinian Authority negotiators…
The reaction of Palestinian Authority chairman. Machmud Abbas was immediate, with Abbas telling the media that Netanyahu’s conditions to recognize a Palestinian state would “destroy all peace initiatives in the region”: and that “it will lead to no solution.”
Mr. Abbas, who, together with the late PLO leader Yassir Arafat had signed on to these very principles on the White House lawn sixteen years ago, told the media that “There is now nothing to talk about ”. Speaking to the Israeli press, Abbas’s political adviser, Nimr Hamad, categorically rejected Netanyahu’s call to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat declared that hat “now, after the prime minister’s speech, the ball is in the court of US President Barack Obama. “The peace process was moving at a turtle’s pace. This evening, Netanyahu put it on its back,” Erekat said
The Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, told the Voice of Israel Radio that “The speech was racist and expressed the extremist policy of Netanyahu and his government.”
Israeli Arab Knesset members said that the speech was no more than “sleight of hand.” Senior Israeli Arab member of the Israeli Knesset Parliament, MK Jamal Zahalka, said that there was no essential change in the speech. “It is a eulogy to peace,” he said.
While the Obama Administration lauded praise on Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, the U.S. government continued to ignored the Prime Minister’s.renewed call for a demilitarized Palestinian entity.
On Monday, following the Prime Minister’s appeal for a demilitarized PA entity, the United States announced that it would indeed still upgrade the training and equipping of Palestinian Authority security forces, following last week’s Congressional allocation of $109 million for PA military training projects meant to expand the security forces under the command of the Palestinian Authority. Under the measure, the administration of President Barack Obama would oversee the training and deployment of 10 battalions, or more than 5,000 troops, by 2011. The measure was included in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill passed by the House and Senate on June 11
So far, Washington has funded the training and deployment of three PA battalions, or about 1,500 troops. The troops included units from the National Security Forces and the Presidential Guard. The four-month course included counterinsurgency, anti-riot and basic combat skills.
U.S. security envoy Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton has informed the US Congress that he is training the PA to take over security responsibility in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin and Jericho.
The latent fear in the Israeli military is that there would be a repeat of what occurred in September, 2000, when western-trained Palestinian Authority security personnel joined forces with Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in a carefully planned joint effort against Israel in what became known as the “second intifada” or uprising against Israel