Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on a Twitter tirade to slam Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas just two days ahead of the beginning of the US-led peace talks. The prime minister said Abbas should refrain from "poisoning the minds of Palestinian youth" against Israel.
Netanyahu's sharp remarks come amid the US' attempt to reinvigorate the peace process in the Middle East. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and senior Washington adviser, Jason Greenblatt, are set to land in the region this week. Netanyahu's ire was expressed against the backdrop of Palestine naming a new square after Khaled Nazzal, who Israel regards as a terrorist.
"Palestinian President Abbas tells the world that he educates Palestinian children for peace. That's a lie," Netanyahu wrote in a message among a series of such tweets against the Palestinian president.
In another post, Netanyahu remarked: "Naming yet another public square for a mass murderer teaches Palestinian youngsters to murder Israelis. That's the very opposite of peace." Nazzal was the former chief of Democratic Front of the Liberation of Palestine's military arm and is accused to have masterminded the 1974 Ma'alot massacre in which 26 Israelis were killed. Among the victims were 22 students as the extremists stormed a school in Ma'alot.
Netanyahu's concluding tweet read: "President Abbas: stop poisoning the minds of Palestinian youth. Educate for peace, not terror."
Meanwhile, Kushner is set to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, 21 June as part of the US redoubling of efforts in pushing through the peace negotiations. Kushner, who is Trump's adviser, is hoping to play a key role in stabilising in the volatile Middle East. He will hold separate talks with both Netanyahu and Abbas.
Ahead of Kushner's arrival, Greenblatt is already setting the stage by holding a string of discussion with Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
Commenting on the US' initiatives, a White House official told the Haaretz, "It is important to remember that forging a historic peace agreement will take time and to the extent that there is progress, there are likely to be many visits by both Mr Kushner and Mr Greenblatt, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to the region and possibly many trips by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to Washington DC or other locations as they pursue substantive talks".