Remarks With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Loews Regency Hotel
New York City
October 2, 2015

QUESTION: Mr. Netanyahu, would you agree to freezing settlement expansion to restart talks?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Mr. Secretary, John, today Israel and America are united in grief. Palestinian terrorists murdered yesterday a young mother and father leaving four little orphans. A gunman brutally murdered nine innocent Americans. I appreciated your strong statement of condemnation. I have to say that I have yet to hear any condemnation from President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Worse, I heard senior officials from his Fatah movement praise this action. They say this is the way to go. No, it’s not the way to go. The way to go for any conceivable arrangement is to fight terrorism and to make sure that terrorism reaps no rewards.

I think I’ll say some words in Hebrew, because the people of Israel are united in this grief. (In Hebrew.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. Prime Minister, I’m glad that we have an opportunity to be able to talk today. And I express again today, as we did yesterday, not only our condolences but our condemnation for this violence which has no place anywhere at any time. And our hearts go out to the families of the Israelis who have been lost, but our hearts also go out to the people in Oregon too, where we’ve had our own violence in our country. And President Obama spoke very eloquently and powerfully to it yesterday.

So that’s really what brings me here today to talk to you about is the violence – too much, particularly in your part of the world. And you know this because you live with it every single day. So we have a lot to talk about. I think there are ways to cooperate to take constructive steps that can address this over the long term, which is something we have worked on together and that we need to work on. So we’re sharing with you the grief that Israel feels today. I hope we can share also the efforts going forward that can reduce and maybe ultimately one day even eliminate any families having to go through these kinds of losses.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, that’s a hope we share. And I have to say, John, that any path forward requires one thing: you have to fight terror. And the terrorists are there; the fanaticism, the zealotry is there; and we have no choice but to fight them. But when we hear incitement that – worse, when we hear praise for the terrorists from our supposed peace partners, we say cut that out, start fighting terrorism. If you won’t, we will. But that’s the call that the international community must place on the Palestinian Authority (inaudible). But I want to make it clear: we’re going to fight these terrorists, and we’re going to fight them in ways that they will understand makes terrorism not worthy its actions and not garner any rewards.