July 8, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2406

Palestinian Reactions to Netanyahu's Speech: 'Akin to a Declaration of War'; 'Netanyahu is a Liar and a Crook'; 'The Speech is Worthless and Warrants a Determined Response'; 'Not In a Thousand Years... Would [He] Find a Single Palestinian' to Agree to His Conditions

July 8, 2009
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 2406

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's June 14, 2009 speech was met with hostility by all Palestinian factions. The Palestinians called Netanyahu "a liar and a crook," stated that the only purpose of his "hollow" speech was to placate U.S. President Barack Obama, and claimed that he was effectively ruining the chances for peace. Senior Palestinian Authority officials called on the U.S. to force Israel to implement the two-state solution, and on the PA to toughen its positions. Hamas called on PA to stop security coordination and to reassess their position on negotiations with Israel.

Following are excerpts from reactions in the PA press to the speech:

PA: Netanyahu's Speech Has Ruined the Chance for Peace

Palestinian Authority negotiations department head Saeb 'Ariqat stated: "The peace process can be compared to a turtle, and now that Netanyahu has turned it over, it's lying on its back. Not in a thousand years will Netanyahu find a single Palestinian who would agree to the conditions stipulated in his speech. The speech is a unilateral declaration ending the political negotiations on permanent status issues." [1]

Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority president, stated: "The speech has destroyed all peace initiatives and [chances for] a solution." He called on the U.S. administration to fulfill its responsibility in this respect, and added that "Netanyahu's failure to recognize the Arab Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state and his attempt to impose a solution to the Palestinian problem outside Israel will not lead to a just and comprehensive peace, as prescribed by the U.N. resolutions." [2]

PLO Executive Committee Secretary Yasser 'Abd Rabbo stated: "Netanyahu's speech was hollow, and it ruined the chances to advance toward a balanced settlement. The speech is worthless and warrants a determined response. Netanyahu is a liar and a crook; he is looking for ploys to disrupt the peace endeavor." [3]

Some PA officials appealed to the U.S. to put pressure on Israel. Thus, Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Nabil 'Amro stated: "Netanyahu's speech is nothing but a hoax [to deceive] America; it does not constitute a positive step towards peace. Netanyahu's speech is not an initiative, but a poor show presenting a political stance adopted for no other reason than to appease Obama." 'Amro called on Obama to force Netanyahu to accept the peace process and the American position on the two state solution. [4]

The editor of the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Hafez Al-Barghuthi, wrote: "Binyamin Netanyahu said nothing new in his speech; rather, he reiterated [his] pre-election positions, and spat in the face of all those who counted on Obama's magic wand to swallow the serpents of the settlements and to make Netanyahu change his skin and recognize the two-state [solution]… The Palestinian side is not ready to form a state, no matter how small, since Obama has not demanded that the Palestinians unite their ranks and eliminate the rift between Fatah and Hamas…" [5]

If Israel Does Not Grant the Palestinian Refugees the Right of Return, PA Will Sign Only a Hudna Truce

Senior Fatah official Bilal Al-Hassan contended that the Palestinians must set forth the following demands: full Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967; the dismantling of all settlements, including construction in East Jerusalem; the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state; rejection of the idea of exchanging territories; the payment of damages to West Bank and Gaza residents for all the destruction caused by the occupation; and a solution to the right of return problem based on U.N. Resolution No. 194. In addition, should Israel not agree to the return of the Palestinian refugees, only a hudna truce and an agreement on reversing the consequences of 1967 war will be signed - but not a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. [6]

Talal 'Ukal, Palestinian political analyst and columnist for the PA daily Al-Ayyam, stated that in his view, the Palestinians should intensify pressure on Israel by accusing it of war crimes as well as assign greater importance to Europe's attempts to establish an international front opposing settlements. He said that they must demand not only a stop to the building of settlements, but that they be considered an aggressive, illegitimate, and illegal element. 'Ukal also called for the elimination of the rift between the Palestinians. [7]

Hamas: Demand to Recognize a Jewish State - A Racist Position

Hamas issued an announcement, stating: "Netanyahu is offering the Palestinians a state without identity, sovereignty, army, or weapons; without Jerusalem or the right of return. And at the same time, it insists on leaving the settlements in place. He is offering an economic peace in return for normalization and recognition of the Zionist entity. Netanyahu tried to use some misleading expressions [to describe] his quest for peace and his racist position - especially [regarding his demand] that the Palestinians recognize the Palestinian land as a Jewish country, as well as his dismissal of the right of return and the Palestinians' right to Jerusalem. These positions reveal the falsehood of his peace advocacy. The declarations and positions expressed in this speech have increased the hatred and enmity towards this enemy.

"Netanyahu's racist speech is a message to all those betting on a settlement to immediately stop longing for this mirage. Hamas is calling on the Arab countries to stop marketing normalization or negotiation plans vis-à-vis the occupation. Hamas's announcement has also called on the PA to stop providing the [Zionist] entity with free security services, as well as to reassess its position and to again embrace Palestinian unity, in light of Netanyahu's clear declaration that he would not give the PA anything of substance. Hamas elaborated that [Netanyahu's] statements would only make the Palestinian people more steadfast on its position, Jerusalem, the right of return, and the refusal to recognize this racist occupation." [8]

Senior Hamas Official: Netanyahu's Speech Proves that Resistance Is the Only Way to Attain Rights

Hamas official Dr. Ahmad Bahr, who is acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated: "[Netanyahu's] racist speech rests on denying the [existence of] the Palestinian people and on disregarding their suffering, and [affirms] that a racist entity [exists] on Palestinian soil. It is an arrogant Zionist speech, rife with threats and condescension towards the Palestinians as well as towards the Arab and Muslim peoples.

"This speech by the criminal Netanyahu showed that some are [still] enticed by his imaginary peace and by his failing plans, while others still harbor hopes of pleasing the Zionists and the Americans. This speech proves that resistance is the only way for the Palestinian people to attain its legitimate rights - and mainly the right to liberate its country, to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its eternal capital, and to bring a million Palestinians back home, whence they were expelled by Zionist terrorist gangs." [9]

Islamic Jihad: The Arab Initiative Must Be Revoked

The Islamic Jihad spokesman stated: "Netanyahu's speech was deceptive through and through - it clearly disregarded the rights of the Palestinians. Netanyahu's speech has proven that the wave of extremism has engulfed the state of the Zionist entity, and that therefore it is impossible to achieve a peace agreement with this state. The Arab League must declare the Arab peace initiative revoked, and stop betting on a settlement, because Netanyahu's speech was an answer to this initiative…

"The Palestinians must unite their ranks, as should the Arabs and the Muslims, in order to stand up to radicalization that has taken hold of Israel on all levels.

"It is impossible to come to terms with the occupation, even of one inch of the Palestinian soil. The conflict will continue until the occupation of Palestine ends." [10]

PFLP: Netanyahu's Speech "Akin To a Declaration of War"

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called Netanyahu's speech "akin to a declaration of war and an insult to the international community…" It was further stated: "The peace that Netanyahu offered to the Palestinians and the Arabs is a peace of serfdom, with the Palestinian state as an Israeli reservation, and the PA a civilian administration of its residents, who would be dependent on the occupation's munificence, and on its security and economic sovereignty… Netanyahu's call for security, economic activity, meetings with Arab leaders, and negotiations with the Palestinians - while Israel continues acting against the Palestinians - is a mockery of the Arab leaders and the Arab peace initiative."

The PFLP also called on the Arab League to reassess the feasibility of peace and negotiations. [11]


[1] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), June 15, 2009.

[2] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 15, 2009.

[3], June 15, 2009.

[4] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 15, 2009.

[5] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 15, 2009.

[6] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 15, 2009.

[7] Al-Ayyam (PA), June 15, 2009.

[8], June 14, 2009.

[9], June 14, 2009.

[10], June 14, 2009.

[11], June 14, 2009.

Share this Report:

Help Fight Extremism - Support MEMRI

MEMRI is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible and kept strictly confidential.