Middle East Monitor / September 4, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Friday that he would not meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas because he took Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, Israeli media reported.
Speaking on Zoom to leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Bennett stated: “As someone who comes from the business world, when someone sues me, I am not really that nice to him.”
Commenting on the meeting between Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Abbas, Bennett stressed that no political breakthrough would be reached while he is in office.
He asserted that he did not want to “create any illusions” that a political breakthrough is imminent because this could have “negative ramifications”.
Bennett believes that the conflict with Palestinians cannot be resolved. However, steps can be taken to “reduce the scope of friction” with Palestinians.
According to The Times of Israel, the steps, Bennett explained, would have to deal with the economy and improve the Palestinians’ lives.
At the same time, Bennett confirmed that his government would take actions to stabilize the area and avoid annexation of West Bank territory and a settlement freeze, The Times of Israel reported.
One of his goals as prime minister, he said, would be to build good relations with neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Egypt, and that the work towards this has already begun.
Regarding the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, he affirmed that his government was not looking for “dramas” and hopes to solve such disagreements as quietly as possible.
It is worth noting that Abbas had requested that the ICC open an investigation into Israeli war crimes committed against Palestinians, and the ICC’s chief prosecutor has announced that she would conduct an investigation.