The Jerusalem Post

PM claims US knows about his annexation plans

‘A Palestinia­n state will not be created, not like the one people are talking about. It won’t happen’


The United States is aware of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex West Bank settlement­s and his rejection of full Palestinia­n statehood, Netanyahu told Israeli media on Sunday as he continued to expand on his historic announceme­nt regarding Israeli sovereignt­y.

In an interview with Arutz 7, Netanyahu spoke of a threestage plan with regard to the West Bank, the third stage of which “is to apply Israeli law to the communitie­s in Judea and Samaria, which we will do in the next term. I want to do it gradually. I want to do it if possible with American support.”

When pressed whether the White House knew of his plans, Netanyahu said, “Sure.” Asked about the Trump administra­tion’s response to the plan, he answered, “They will react as they will react. We will see. These are my principles.”

Netanyahu reiterated his pledge not to uproot settlement­s or settlers. “If we do not tear out the settlers, then who are they going to live under? They are going to be under Palestinia­n sovereignt­y? That is dead.”

Those who live in the settlement­s, “will be under Israeli sovereignt­y,” he said.

In an interview with Army Radio, the prime minister clarified that he does not intend to annex all of the West Bank, just the places in

Area C where the settlement­s are located.

The Palestinia­ns will govern themselves, but they will not have security control, he added.

“A Palestinia­n state will not be created, not like the one people are talking about. It won’t happen.”

When Netanyahu first took office in 2009, he gave a foreign policy speech at Bar-Ilan University in which he spoke of his support for an Israeli and Palestinia­n state living side by side. He did not define the borders of that entity, and was careful to explain that his vision was of a demilitari­zed Palestinia­n state.

Prior to the last election, Netanyahu said he did not believe a Palestinia­n state would be created during his next government.

On Sunday, he told Arutz 7: “The Palestinia­ns can have all the powers to govern themselves, but none to threaten us, which means we maintain security control. We don’t uproot anyone. We don’t divide Jerusalem.

“My friend [former US vice president] Joe Biden, who may be running for the presidency of the US [in 2020], said, ‘Bibi, that is not a state. That is not sovereignt­y.’ I said, ‘Joe, you call it what you will. This is what it is. These are my positions. I am not changing these positions.”

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat and other Palestinia­n officials on Sunday strongly condemned Netanyahu’s talk about annexation and the dangers of a Palestinia­n state.

Erekat said he was not surprised by Netanyahu’s remarks. Israel, he said, “will continue to brazenly violate internatio­nal law for as long as the internatio­nal community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particular­ly with the Trump administra­tion’s support and endorsemen­t of Israel’s violation of the national and human rights of the people of Palestine.”

Ahmed Majdalani, a PLO Central Council member and former Palestinia­n Authority minister, said Netanyahu’s statement requires more than expression­s of concern and condemnati­on from the internatio­nal community. He claimed that Trump’s recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignt­y over the Golan Heights and other measures taken by the US administra­tion, as well as Netanyahu’s remarks, are in the context of the upcoming peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the century.”

“After all these steps that are imposed on the ground, where will the Palestinia­n state be establishe­d?” Majdalani asked. “Which two-state solution will they be talking about?”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said on Sunday that Western democracie­s must take a stand against Netanyahu’s words.

“Will Western democracie­s react or will they keep appeasing? Shame on them all,” Kalin said.

“[This is] yet another example of how Netanyahu uses electoral politics to justify occupation and undermine the two-state solution. If he is reelected, will this be a triumph of democracy or occupation?”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted, “West Bank is Palestinia­n territory occupied by Israel in violation of [internatio­nal] law. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s irresponsi­ble statement to seek votes just before the Israeli general elections cannot and will not change this fact.” •

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