Palestinians must end their indoctrination of anti-Semitism and incitement of violence in order for peace with Israel to be possible, President Donald Trump said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Wednesday.
“I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they’re taught from a very young age,” Trump said.
They’re taught tremendous hate. I’ve seen what they’re taught. And we can talk about flexibility there too, but it starts at a very young age and it starts in the school room. And they have to acknowledge Israel. They’re going to have to do that. There’s no way a deal can be made if they’re not ready to acknowledge a very, very great and important country.
Trump’s statement echoed a central part of the speech he delivered last year at the AIPAC Policy Conference:
I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately [after being inaugurated]. I have known him for many years and we’ll be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region. Meanwhile, every single day you have rampant incitement and children being taught to hate Israel and to hate the Jews. It has to stop.
When you live in a society where the firefighters are the heroes, little kids want to be firefighters. When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are the heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars. In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can’t let this continue. We can’t let this happen any longer.
You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace. It is a horrible way to think. It’s a barrier that can’t be broken. That will end and it’ll end soon, believe me. In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fomenting there for years and if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to go out and they’ve got to start [sic] this educational process. They have to end education of hatred. They have to end it and now.
There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.
A study released last month found that Palestinian textbooks feature maps without Israel and explicitly deny the Jewish historical connection to the land. (For more information about this issue, read The Palestinian Textbook Fiasco, which was published in the June 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine).
Trump also indicated a shift in American policy towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Rather than insisting on a two-state solution, as his two immediate predecessors did as official policy, Trump was more ambivalent, stating, “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.”
I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians—if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
Both leaders made allusions to broader regional cooperation between Israel and neighboring Arab states, who have grown closer in response to the threat from Iran. Netanyahu expressed his belief “that the great opportunity for peace comes from a regional approach from involving our new found Arab partners in the pursuant of a broader peace and peace with the Palestinians.” Trump added that the two had already been discussing such a plan, which is “something that is very different, hasn’t been discussed before. And it’s actually a much bigger deal—much more important deal in a sense. It would take in many, many countries and would cover a very large territory.”
The two began their press conference by praising the U.S.-Israel alliance. The two countries “have a long history of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the fight against those who do not value human life,” Trump said. “America and Israel are two nations that cherish the value of all human life.”
Netanyahu responded by stating that “Israel has no better ally than the United States. And I want to assure you, the United States has no better ally than Israel.”