Reactions to Israeli PM Netanyahus speech at US congress

Israeli left

Further to the Left, MK Zehava Gal- On of Meretz called Netanyahu “dangerous” and “extremist” and rejected his statement that Israel would never return to the pre-1967 borders.

“Even Netanyahu knows that there is no such thing as peace that is not based on ’67 borders and dividing Jerusalem,” she said.


Israeli right

MK Tzipi Hotovely from his own Likud party said the speech was “a dangerous precedent from a right-wing prime minister.”

National Union MK Michael Ben- Ari slammed Netanyahu for offering the Palestinians a state, saying that he had become the Palestinian Herzl.

“Netanyahu received the greatest applause when he said that Israel is the land of our forefathers and that Jerusalem will not be divided, so there was no need for him to declare that he is willing to give up large portions of our homeland to the Arabs,” Ben-Ari’s National Union colleague MK Arye Eldad said. “Saying that he is willing to abandon settlements will only encourage the Arabs to ask for more and we are liable to pay for this in blood.”

Likud ministers Gideon Sa’ar, Limor Livnat and Yuli Edelstein praised Netanyahu for presenting Israel’s case well. They said the Palestinian reaction to the speech proved that there was no partner on the Palestinian side. Likud officials expressed confidence that Netanyahu’s coalition would not be endangered by the speech.



Israeli center

One of the only MKs who released a statement praising Netanyahu was Otniel Schneller of Kadima, who said the prime minister had succeeded in speaking for a consensus of Israelis.

Schneller urged his faction to put politics aside in favor of the national interest.


Kadima MK Yoel Hasson accused the prime minister of staging an election campaign from Washington.

“Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was an election commercial,” Hasson said. “It was an attempt by Netanyahu to present a false impression that he is willing to enter negotiations.

The people of Israel should not be enticed and should understand that Netanyahu’s policies will lead not only to international isolation, but also to a binational state.”



(...) Netanyahu "did not say anything that we can build on positively."

The Palestinian president added that Netanyahu presented solutions before negotiations even started. He endorsed the concept of peace talks but noted that the Palestinian Authority will go ahead with its UN recognition bid should no progress be made by September.

"Appealing to the UN is not the only plan and we have no intention of isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it," he added.

Abbas described Netanyahu's speech in Congress as "negative" as it attempted to lay down solutions to disagreements before negotiations have started. 

He also addressed the reconciliation agreement with Hamas and noted that "it must be completed and implemented on the ground as agreed in Cairo." Abbas was referring to the establishment of an "independent" Palestinian government.


PA senior member says PM not serious about peace, claims Hamas seeking peace, not war with Israel; Erekat: Netanyahu is not a man of peace, didn't say anything new.




מוקדם יותר התייחס ראש ממשלת חמאס איסמעיל הנייה לנאום ושלח איומים מפורשים לעבר ישראל: "בשנה הבאה צריכים להגיע מיליונים לגבול עם ישראל, לא רק ביום הנכבה אלא גם במסגרת אירועים אחרים".

Hamas-Government leader in Gaza Ismael Haniyeh: Next year Millions need to come to the borders with Israel, not just on Nakba day but as well in the framework of other events.



White House

Resuming the political process for creating the Palestinian Authority as a state “is going to require a credible answer from the Palestinians about the role that Hamas is going to play in the new government, and whether a Palestinian partner and interlocutor can credibly say it recognizes Israel’s right to exist and is not committed to engaging in terrorism,” U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told reporters.

“So in the first instance, there is some -- again, some step that needs to be taken on the Palestinian side, again, to give Israel that confidence coming into the negotiation,” he added.