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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

aNetanyahu Calls Threat Of Arab Boycott 'Absurd'

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Arab states Monday of ganging up on Israel but called the notion that they could revive the Arab boycott "absurd."


The Arab League, angry at Netanyahu's construction of a new Jewish settlement in Arab east Jerusalem, urged in a meeting in Cairo on Sunday suspending normalization with Israel and reviving the economic boycott.


"What is required on the Arab side is to recognize that we are not always going to have agreement with Israel but that we don't go back to this mode of 'ganging up' on Israel and making these absurd ideas that the boycott will be reinstated," Netanyahu told Israel Radio's English news.


"Israel has known periods of Israel-bashing more than once and we've been able to overcome it," he said.


In a 12th straight day of West Bank violence spurred by the settlement building, Israeli troops firing rubber bullets shot and wounded two Palestinians during a clash near Jenin with about 200 stone-throwing protesters.


The Palestinian Health Ministry said that as of Sunday night Israel had killed one Palestinian, wounded 14 with live bullets and 195 with rubber bullets, and caused 298 to be treated for inhalation of tear gas.


And in a move assailed by human rights activists as collective punishment, Israel on Monday flattened the West Bank family home of a Palestinian suicide bomber who killed three Israeli women at a Tel Aviv cafe on March 21.


The suicide attack and the ground-breaking this month for the settlement, coupled with daily clashes, have plunged Israel's Arab relations into crisis.


Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy said Middle East peace moves must not be held hostage to violence or a halt in normalization. "Israel is going with a peace process from its desire and free choice, ... Obviously it won't take on itself things that run contrary to its interests or its policy as a result of pressure or violence," he said.


Netanyahu's communications chief David Bar-Illan assailed the threat to restore the Arab boycott, saying: "It is a reversion to hostile acts rather than an effort to sit around the table and settle our differences through negotiations."


Israel's central bank governor Jacob Frenkel declined comment on the revived threat but termed the end of the Arab boycott one of the main benefits Israel had reaped from peace efforts.