After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the US Congress on Tuesday, Palestinians broadly rejected his assertion that Israel needs to retain key territories seen as vital to the potential Palestinian state.
Addressing the US Congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that Israel was prepared to make "painful compromises" in upcoming peace negotiations with the Palestinians over the establishment of a Palestinian state, Tadiasreported on Tuesday.
However, he rejected the notion that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders, a position presented by President Obama last Thursday in a wide-ranging Middle East address.
Claiming Netanyahu's position amounted to a "declaration of war against the Palestinians," Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, echoed the deep concerns among Palestinians that Israel is not taking a sincere approach to peace negotiations or to the establishment of a Palestinian state, the Associated Press reported.
Netanyahu has also insisted that Jerusalem not be divided. Palestinians disagree with most of Netanyahu's assertions and are pushing to take their claim for a Palestinian nation to the United Nations directly. This statehood move is soundly rejected by both the United States and Israel.
Abbas is slated to meet with the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah on Wednesday to discuss their next steps, and it is likely the Palestinians will move forward with a United Nations outreach.
"We have nothing but to continue our struggle in the international arena and to continue building our state and to continue our popular struggle," Shaath told the Associated Pressl. "We don't have a partner for peace."
The lasting Palestinian response to Netanyahu's speech was one of disappointment and recognition that Israel is not serious about the peace process.
"There is nothing new in Netanyahu's speech except that he is adding obstacles on the road towards a genuine, serious, lasting and comprehensive peace," said Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, according to an AFP report.