Netanyahu: No Substitute for Israeli Control in West Bank

Opposition leader blasts plan to ease Palestinian mobility, warns 'if IDF leaves, Hamas and Iran will enter.'

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed the defense ministry's decision to ease access and freedom of movement for West Bank Palestinians, saying there could be no substitute for Israeli control in the territory.

Israel and the Palestinians on Sunday agreed to a series of concrete steps aimed at paving the way for a final peace agreement later this year, beginning with an Israeli pledge to remove some 50 roadblocks in the West Bank.

Responding to the defense ministry's announcement, Netanyahu said: "Nobody, not even Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas], can do our job. If the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] leaves the territory, Hamas and Iran will come in."

Netanyahu added that his Likud party would not agree to any agreement that would require the division of Jerusalem. "If an agreement of principles is made that includes a return to lines based on the '67 borders and the division of Jerusalem - we won't give out hands," he said.

In an interview with Army Radio later on Sunday, MK Limor Livnat backed up her party chairman's comments: "We cannot give the Palestinians even one lenience," she said.

"That would only bring into place Hamas. Every concession, every lenience is seen by them as a victory and a defeat for Israel. We cannot give them weapons because they will only turn them against us. We've already been in this movie," she added.