Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump at the White House Feb. 15, 2017.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump at the White House Feb. 15, 2017.

The “two-state solution” of an independent state of Palestine alongside Israel has been a stated objective of Middle East peace negotiations for decades.

But in his first visit to the White House under an administration whose welcome contrasted sharply with the treatment of its predecessor, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear the starting point for discussing peace is to do away with “labels” such as “two states” and deal with “substance.”

“It’s something that I have hoped to do for years in a world that is absolutely fixated on labels and not on substance,” he said at a joint news conference Wednesday with President Trump in the White House’s East Room.

The substance, Netanyahu said, is two “prerequisites” for peace that the Palestinians have not fulfilled.

The first is that they must recognize the Jewish state.

“They have to stop calling for Israel’s destruction. They have to stop educating their people for Israel’s destruction,” said Netanyahu.

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Secondly, he said, Israel must retain the “overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River,” the West Bank.

“If we don’t, we know what will happen,” he said. “Because otherwise we’ll get another radical Islamic terrorist state in the Palestinian areas, exploding the peace, exploding the Middle East.”

Asked whether he supported a two-state solution, Trump said he will leave that to the Israelis and Palestinians to decide.

Trump took a moment to confront Netanyahu, however.

“I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit,” he said, while stressing that Israel would need to make compromises in any future peace talks.

In his opening remarks, Trump hailed America’s “unbreakable bond” with its “cherished ally.”

Netanyahu emphasized that, “unfortunately, the Palestinians vehemently reject both prerequisites for peace,” pointing out the “death to Israel” propaganda in schools, the denial of Israel’s history in the land, the public honoring of terrorists and the cash payments to terrorists and their families.

“First, they continue to call for Israel’s destruction. Inside their schools, inside their mosques, inside their textbooks,” he said.

“You have to read it to believe it.”

WND has reported for more than 16 years Palestinian children are being taught in schools and in media to hate Jews and to glorify violent jihad, death and child martyrdom.

Last year, Israeli investigative journalist David Bedein and a team of senior journalists released a short film to expose indoctrination in schools in Jerusalem and Bethlehem run by the United National Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA.

One clip in “The UNRWA Road to Terror: Palestinian Classroom Incitement” shows a 13-year-old student at a UNRWA school declaring support for ISIS.

In another, a 7-year-old girl at a U.N. school in Jerusalem says, “We have to make war to prove we are stronger than the Jews,” and a 10-year-old at a U.N. school in Bethlehem declares, “We need to take steps to kill [Jews], and they will retreat and we will advance.”

Netanyahu further pointed out that Palestinians even deny “our historical connection to our homeland.”

“I suppose you have to ask yourself, ‘Why are Jews called Jews?'” he said. “Well, the Chinese are called Chinese because they come from China. The Japanese are called Japanese because they come from Japan.

“Well, Jews are called Jews because they come from Judea. This is our ancestral homeland. Jews are not foreign colonialists in Judea,” the prime minister said.

“So, unfortunately, the Palestinians not only deny the past, they also poison the present.”

Last year, UNESCO, the United Nations committee responsible for “cultural understanding,” proposed a resolution that denied the documented historic Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Submitted by seven Muslim nations, it emphasized the historic and religious significance of the site to Islam but ignored evidence of Jewish history.

In 2008, the Palestinian Authority official leading peace talks at the time, Ahmed Qurei, told a small gathering of media in Jerusalem, which included WND, that the Jewish Temples never existed and Israel had been working to “invent” a Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem.

Honoring terrorists

At the press conference Wednesday, Netanyahu also noted the Palestinians “name public squares in honor of mass murderers who murdered Israelis, and I have to say also murdered Americans.”

Dalal Mugrabhi honored (Palestinian Media Watch)

Dalal Mughrabi honored (Palestinian Media Watch)

In just one example, the Palestinians have named schools, summer camps and many other places and events after Dalal Mughrabi, who led a bus hijacking that killed 37 people.

The Israeli prime minister also noted the Palestinians “pay monthly salaries to the families of murderers, like the family of the terrorist who killed Taylor Force, a wonderful young American, a West Point graduate, who was stabbed to death while visiting Israel.”

WND reported last year evidence that the Palestinian Authority was secretly continuing to pay salaries to convicted terrorists, despite having promised the Western nations who fund the PA, including the U.S., hat the payments would be stopped. The PA has received an estimated $25 billion in financial aid from the U.S. and other countries over two decades.

Among the likely recipients of payments is Abdallah Barghouti, who is serving 67 life sentences for his role in terror attacks that killed a total of 67 people.

Netanyahu told Trump Wednesday: “Under your leadership I believe we can reverse the rising tide of radical Islam.”

‘One-state’ plan

The Trump administration’s indication that it is backing away from the two-state solution prompted anger and bafflement among Palestinian leaders, the New York Times reported.

saeb-erekat

Saeb Erekat (YouTube.com)

Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinians, raised the specter of “apartheid” and called for “concrete measures in order to save the two-state solution,” the Times said.

However, Caroline Glick, a former foreign policy adviser to Netanyahu and a core member of the Israeli peace negotiating team from 1994 to 1996, notes in her book “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East” that the U.S. presented nine different peace plans between 1979 and 2013.

For the past 20 years, the two-state solution has been at the centerpiece of U.S. policy, Glick emphasizes.

“American efforts to implement the two-state solution have all been dismal failures,” she writes.

With each new attempt, Glick continues, “the Middle East has become less stable, more violent, more radicalized, and more inimical to American values and interests.”

She proposes “the application of Israeli law — and through it Israeli sovereignty — over the West Bank of the Jordan River,” arguing it is “a viable, realistic option” that is “fair, liberal, and democratic.”

Skeptics of such a one-state plan fear it would weaken Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.

Glick argues among things that there have been errors in counting the numbers of Jews and Arabs in the region, and polling data has been dismissed that shows an affinity among Palestinians for Israeli democratic governance.

‘We have a shot’

At the White House on Wednesday, Netanyahu concluded his point.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu at the White House Feb. 15, 2017.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Feb. 15, 2017.

“So, this is the source of the conflict. The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “Persistent rejectionism. That’s the reason we don’t have peace.

“Now, that has to change. I want it to change,” he declared.

Netanyahu said the two prerequisites have become even more important because of the “rising tide of fanaticism that has swept the Middle East and has also, unfortunately, infected Palestinian society.”

He said that while his desire is for peace, “if anyone believes that I, as prime minister of Israel, responsible for the security of my country, would gladly walk into a Palestinian terrorist state that seeks the destruction of my country, they are gravely mistaken.”

Netanyahu said he believes that the great opportunity for peace “comes from a regional approach, from involving our new-found Arab partners in pursuit of a broader peace and peace with the Palestinians.”

“I greatly look forward to discussing this in detail with you, Mr. President,” he said, “because I think that if we work together, we have a shot.”

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