Palestinians See Netanyahu’s AIPAC Speech as End to Peace Talks

Speech Barely Touched on Palestine, Rehashed Old Demands

by Jason Ditz, March 04, 2014

With the peace process in serious jeopardy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the United States, Palestinians looked at his speech with baited breath, anticipating that his meeting with President Obama before the speech would reflect some movement on the issue.

The speech opened with a brief bit about the “brutal” Syrian government, and segued into a condemnation of Iran. Then another, then another. Netanyahu’s speech was materially all about condemning the P5+1 talks with Iran, and demanding harsher terms on Iran, and threatening to attack Iran.

Palestine only came up way at the end, and even then was mostly an excuse for Netanyahu to portray the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. While claiming Israel is ready to accept a Palestinian state, Netanyahu made no suggestion that anything new was coming, and his sole direct comment was a demand for Palestine to immediately accept Israel as an eternally Jewish state.

Peace talks were such an afterthought in the speech that Palestinian leaders say they believe the speech effectively amounted to the end of the process, since if Netanyahu can’t produce anything new in the high-profile speech, the talks are clearly not moving forward.

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