Netanyahu Lauds Australia For ‘Courageous’ Statement on Settlements

Binyamin Netanyahu with cabinet ministers in JerusalemPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday welcomed a recent announcement by the Australian government that word “occupied” would be dropped when discussing East Jerusalem.

“I certainly appreciate this stand by the Australian government,” he said. “To say this sharply and with such clarity and, I would say, courage, is refreshing given the chorus of hypocrisy and ignorance, ignorance not only of ancient history, but of recent and current history.”

Netanyahu also lashed out at the new Palestinian unity government, saying that those who had hoped the move would have a moderating effect on Hamas were wrong.

“Over the weekend, the leaders of Hamas reiterated their intention to destroy the State of Israel,” the prime minister said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “Whoever hoped that the Palestinian unity between Fatah and Hamas would moderate Hamas is mistaken.”

“The signs are being seen more and more that the complete opposite is taking place,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is increasing its control in the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria.”

“International pressure must be applied on Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah) to dissolve the partnership with Hamas. This touches on the roots of the conflict and the roots of a solution in which peace is achieved between us and the Palestinians,” he said.

Netanyahu also suggested that Abbas would be held personally responsible for any future violence from Gaza or the West Bank. “Abu Mazen promised to uphold all of his previous commitments, and the first of these is honoring the commitment to demilitarize the areas under the control of the Palestinian government, including of course, the Gaza Strip,” he said.

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