Netanyahu Speech Gets Mixed Reviews in Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress drew a variety of reactions from people across Israel.

While Netanyahu declared Jerusalem would remain united under Israeli rule, he also acknowledged that some Jewish "settlements" would end up beyond Israel's borders in any future peace agreement.

"What we saw today, that the prime minister accepted the vision of President Obama with only one change, major change, that he says that Jerusalem will be united," Knesset member Danny Danon observed.

"We welcome this, but we tell Prime Minister Netanyahu, also the people in Judea and Samaria, where we are today, will stay where they are," he added.

Some Jews living in Judea and Samaria, also called the West Bank, appreciated Netanyahu's reference to the Jewish connection to the land of Israel.

"The speech was good, especially the fact that he mentioned and strengthened the element that we are here not just for security reasons," one West Bank resident said.

"We are here because our forefathers are here," she continued. "We are living in the same place that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were walking and living."

But the Palestinian Authority rejected Netanyahu's speech, saying it would not lead to peace.

"Mr. Netanyahu has chosen settlements not peace. Mr. Netanyahu has chosen the past and not the future. Mr. Netanyahu has chosen public relations and not the realities," Senior Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

During his address, the prime minister called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to tear up his recent unity deal with the terrorist group Hamas.

"The response to Netanyahu's remarks about tearing up the (Palestinian) reconciliation agreement should be to tear up all previous agreements with the Israeli occupation," a Hamas spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Abbas has made plans to meet with Palestinian leaders to discuss their next move.

The likelihood that peace negotiations will resume is slim. Instead, Abbas is more likely to reject direct talks while continuing his drive to get the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state in September.

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Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.