Few Israelis missed Monday’s photo op of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the climate conference in Paris. It was the first time the two leaders shook hands since 2010.
A few hours later from the podium, Abbas accused Israel of usurping natural resources in areas under P.A. control by uprooting trees and destroying agriculture, though he failed to provide evidence to support his allegations.
Netanyahu later said the handshake was simply protocol.
“It’s important that the world see we are willing to talk,” the prime minister said. “I have no illusions about Abbas.”
A short time later, Netanyahu called on Abbas to stop inciting the Palestinian people against Israel.
“We have to recognize that radical incitement and lies feed terrorism. Those who are committed to peace must fight incitement, must speak the truth,” he said. “If President Abbas is committed to peace, he must stop inciting his people against Israel and start condemning the murder of innocents in Israel.”
Netanyahu then switched gears to Israeli innovation in water reclamation, drip irrigation and desalination, noting its first-place ranking in last year’s Global Clean-Tech Innovation Index.
Israel, by necessity, had to figure out how to stretch its limited water resources, he said, and today it’s a world leader in the efficient use of water.
“Israel has had to optimize all its life,” he continued. “We had no material resources. We had precious water, very little water. We had to do more with less.”
Netanyahu closed his brief remarks by saying Israel is eager to share its technology and innovations with others.
“Israel is a small country with big ideas,” he said. “I believe it’s not enough that we have those ideas or that we apply those ideas in our own country.”
This article originally appeared on CBN News, December 1, 2015.