Peace Now activists demonstrated yesterday in Tel Aviv at the Likud's headquarters against the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu's government to endorse Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' peace overture.
Peace Now activists projected the television interview with Abbas, which aired on Saturday, on the external walls of Metsudat Zeev. In this interview, the Chairman of the PLO and the President of the Palestinian Authority went farther than he ever has to show publicly that he is a partner for peace.
In the interview with Israel's Channel 2, Abbas declared his wish to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, his having no claims to territory inside Israel, his staunch rejection of violence, and his acceptance of the fact that he will never return to his pre-1948 home in the town of Safed in Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu dismissed Abbas' statements, saying that there is no connection between his words and deeds. Netanyahu's political ally, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, lashed out at Abbas for allegedly meddling in Israel's election campaign.
Peace Now reacted immediately, carrying signs that said "There is a Partner," to Metsudat Zeev. The message was: The writing is on the wall. Israel's prime minister has a pragmatic Palestinian interlocutor for peace negotiations, and instead of engaging with him, Netanyahu is dismissing him.
Peace Now lay leader and famed author David Grossman wrote in an open letter to Netanyahu in today's Haaretz that he is being disloyal to his office and his country by dismissing Abbas' peace signals. "I will remind you, Mr. Netanyahu, that you were elected to lead Israel precisely in order to discern these rare hints of opportunity, in order to transform them into a possible lever to extricate your country from the impasse in which it has been stuck for decades." Grossman continued, "In Israel's present situation, you, Mr. Prime Minister, are obliged to respond to that signal. Because if you do not respond, if you do not intend to respond seriously to this fraction of a chance, I find it a bit difficult to understand why it is you want to be elected prime minister."
For English excerpts from Abbas' interview click here
For Yossi Alpher's analysis of Abbas' interview click here
To read David Grossman's open letter to Netanyahu click here
(Photos: Peace Now)