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Netanyahu lauds US envoy for blaming Palestinians for stalled peace

US ambassador David Friedman visits the Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem on May 15, 2017
Menahem KAHANA (AFP/File)
Netanyahu uses talks with Irish, Dutch FMs to call on Abbas to condemn killing of Rabbi in West Bank

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised US ambassador to Israel David Friedman for blaming the lack of progress in the peace process on the Palestinians.

“I want to congratulate Ambassador Friedman...who tweeted the truth, unvarnished, straight forward,” Netanyahu told foreign journalists at a reception in Jerusalem.

"Abbas’s government is supporting the kind of murderers that murdered a father of six," he continued, referencing killing of Rabbi Raziel Shelach on Tuesday who was gunned down on Route 60 that crosses the West Bank from North to South.

"Such people in our jails get $355 million a year, they and their families, from the Palestinian Authority. That is something that is untenable," Netanyahu said.


An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace.

Praying for the bereaved Shevach family.

On Wednesdsay, following the incident of the slain Rabbi, Friedman tweeted: "An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists."

"Hamas praises the killers and PA (Palestinian Authority) laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace," Friedman added.

The Palestinian Authority fired back against Friedman's comments and the Palestinian foreign ministry responded statement accusing the US ambassador of a "prejudiced and selective attitude towards the occupation, settlement construction, and the Palestinian just and legitimate national rights."

AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov

It pointed to Friedman's silence over what Palestinians say was the killing by Israeli forces of a disabled Palestinian man during recent protests and clashes on the Gaza border and other killings as evidence of his bias.

"Friedman's remarks and positions further complicated the road towards the peace process and the resumption of negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, specifically after President Donald Trump's declaration on Jerusalem," the statement added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, used his talks with the foreign ministers of Ireland and The Netherlands to urge the officials to call on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the killing.

A statement issued by Netanyahu’s office said that Abbas’ silence on the terror attack reveals “the true source of the conflict...which is the refusal to recognize the State of Israel in any boundaries accompanied by the encouragement of the murder of Israelis wherever they are.”

The attack came a month after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, infuriating the Palestinians who said they will no longer engage with the Trump administration's push for fresh peace talks.

MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)

Payments to the families of attackers has been a hot-button issue between Israel and the Palestinians.

On Tuesday the Israeli Ministry of Defense said the Palestinian Authority had paid out 1.2 billion shekels ($350 million) last year in such payments.

Israel says the salaries encourages further violence and have regularly called for a halt to them.

For Palestinians, such payments are a key source of income for families who have in many cases lost their main breadwinner.

Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, did not dispute the figures but said that the Palestinian people overwhelmingly supported the payments.

"We stress the commitment of the Palestinian people to the prisoners and families of the prisoners. This is a legal, moral and humanitarian obligation."

(Staff with AFP)

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