Netanyahu: I Don't Want a Binational State, but We Need to Control All of the Territory for the Foreseeable Future

'I'm asked if we will forever live by the sword – yes,' says prime minister.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Netanyahu speaking before the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, October 21, 2015.
Netanyahu speaking before the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, October 21, 2015.Credit: AFP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that although he doesn't want a binational state, "at this time we need to control all of the territory for the foreseeable future."

MKs who took part in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting — where the prime minister spoke — told Haaretz that Netanyahu turned to the politicians and said, hinting at the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination: "These days, there is talk about what would happen if this or that person would have remained. It's irrelevant; there are movements here of religion and Islam that have nothing to do with us." Netanyahu then turned to opposition MKs and said: "You think there is a magic wand here, but I disagree. I'm asked if we will forever live by the sword — yes."

Habayit Hayehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich asked Netanyahu: "Why do you even talk to (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas? Why pull the world's leg?" Netanyahu responded by saying that Israel "is not talking to bin Laden or ISIS, but I will talk to whoever isn't calling for our destruction."

Netanyahu said that contrary to what many of his colleagues on the right are saying, he is ready for territorial concessions. He added, however, that the problem is that the other side is unwilling to go down that path. "Half of the Palestinians are ruled by extreme Islam that wants to destroy us; if there were elections tomorrow, Hamas would win."

The prime minister also spoke about the plan to revoke terrorists' Israeli citizenship or residency, saying that the reason there hasn't been any progress on the matter has to do with delays at the Justice Ministry, headed by Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi).

When MK Smotrich complained about these delays, Netanyahu told him he should ask the ministry which is under his party's area of responsibility: "It's not happening because of the legal system," he said. Smotrich then asked whether the justice minister will get credit in the event that citizenship or residencies are revoked. "Of course," said Netanyahu, "if something succeeds, it's always the minister; if something doesn’t succeed it's always the prime minister."

Netanyahu also spoke about Habayit Hayehudi MK Moti Yogev's recent attack on a High Court judge. "I fully support the courts, but I only ask that procedures be expedited," he said. "The court is not an enemy and does not stand by the enemy, I don't think so and it's absurd to say so. But it's our right to demand the court make swift decisions."

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