JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority officials said Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy speech would trigger a new intifada.
"The speech has destroyed all initiatives and expectations," said a statement issued from PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ office following Netanyahu’s policy speech on Sunday at Bar Ilan University. "It has also placed restrictions on all efforts to achieve peace and constitutes a clear challenge to the Palestinian, Arab and American positions."
An Abbas aide told the Jerusalem Post that "It’s obvious, in the aftermath of this speech, that we are headed toward another round of violence and bloodshed."
Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat called on the Arab countries to suspend the Arab peace initiative to protest Netanyahu’s policy statement.
Hamas said that Netanyahu’s address reflected "a racist and extremist ideology," the French news agency AFP reported.
Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni said at a Kadima Party meeting Monday that Netanyahu took "a step in the right direction" during his speech Sunday. She said the opposition would make sure Netanyahu’s words, calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state, would be translated into action.
A statement from a group of rightists said they would build dozens of new outposts in response to Netanyahu’s address as well as President Obama’s address last week in Cairo.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said in a statement: "The Prime Minister’s speech was a true and courageous speech that referred to the main issue — the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel, the state of the Jewish People. He also proposed to the Palestinians the opening of direct negotiations without preconditions. These remarks, which were enunciated in a clear voice, are very important regarding the strengthening of stability in the Middle East and constitute an opening of direct negotiations towards both a regional peace and a bilateral peace between Israel and the Palestinians."