Netanyahu, in Rome to meet with Kerry, rebuffs Palestinians’ deadlines

Julie Wiener

ROME (JTA) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would rebuff deadlines set by Palestinian officials for his country’s withdrawal from the West Bank and a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu made his remarks on Monday prior to a nearly three-hour meeting in Rome with Secretary of State John Kerry.


Overshadowing the talks was an announced plan by Palestinian officials, working through Jordan, to put forward as early as this this week a United Nations Security Council resolution that would set a November 2016 deadline for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank.

Another proposed resolution backed by France would set a two-year deadline for negotiations to create an accord that would establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“We will not accept attempts to dictate unilateral, time-bound moves to us,” Netanyahu said. “In a reality in which Islamic terror is reaching every corner of the globe, we will rebuff any attempt that would bring this terror into our home, into the State of Israel. … Even if there are dictates, we will stand up to them firmly.”

From Rome, Kerry flies to Paris to meet with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, and then to London, where he is scheduled to meet Tuesday with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. A senior State Department official traveling with Kerry said the goal of the trip was “to hear from and engage with other stakeholders,” to “hear their views, and to the best of our ability work towards a common path forward.”

In Rome, Kerry also met Monday with the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and other senior Vatican officials to discuss the situation in the Middle East and other issues, including the possibility of closing the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Netanyahu also discussed the Middle East situation with Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi.