Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said to Germany's Angela Merkel that Israel was not "ignoring the Palestinians," but "a Palestinian state would mean a terror state."
Speaking at a joint press conference during the outgoing chancellor's visit to Jerusalem, Bennett said the Palestinians "are our neighbors, they’re not going anywhere."
However, he claimed, "we’ve learned from experience that a Palestinian state would highly likely mean a terror state a seven-minute (drive) from my own home, and from just about any place in Israel."
"I believe that Israel's neighbors should be taken care of," Merkel said in regard to a possible peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.
In public remarks throughout the day and in a private meeting with Bennett on Sunday morning, Merkel refrained from criticizing the Israeli premier's positions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Bennett reiterated his stance that the current state of affairs doesn't allow for renewed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
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Earlier on Sunday, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, leader of left-wing Meretz party, told Merkel at a special cabinet meeting Israel should do more to promote peace with its neighbors, “and primarily our nearest and most important neighbors, the Palestinians."
Horowitz emphasized that the peace process should relay "on the basis of the two-state solution in peace and security, so that we can also maintain our democratic values.”