Previous prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert depicted Abbas as “the good Palestinian,” a leader of moderates who are opposed to terror, in contrast to “bad Palestinians” like Yasser Arafat and the Hamas leaders. Abbas was the partner for peace, the interlocutor in a dialogue and a regular guest at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. Olmert even visited Jericho once, as an expression of esteem for the Fatah leader.
Netanyahu, however, relates to Abbas as a foe who is waging a diplomatic war against Israel. In the premier’s view, Abbas represents the past, the struggle for “Palestinian rights,” the return of the refugees, the Palestinians’ lists of Israeli crimes and endless demands for “justice.”