As Netanyahu and Gantz Head for Washington, Bennett Says Israel Won't Let Palestinian State Happen

'In no case, under no condition, will we allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state or recognition of such a state,' defense minister says

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Bennett speaks in Ariel, West Bank, January 26, 2020.
Bennett speaks in Ariel, West Bank, January 26, 2020.Credit: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

Defense Minister Naftali Bennet said Sunday that Israel will in "under no condition allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state," ahead of the Trump administration's release of the long-awaited Middle East peace plan, slated to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Speaking in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Bennett said: "In no case, under no condition, will we allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state or recognition of such a state and we will not relinquish a single centimeter of the land of Israel to Arabs."

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 58

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>> Read more: Annexation for dummies: Making sense of Netanyahu and Gantz's declarations

"Before us, before the government, is a once in a lifetime chance, once in 50 years, to extend Israeli law over half a million citizens and over the Jordan Valley and Gush Etzion," Bennett said.

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz, set out to Washington on Sunday to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump about the plan.

"This has been our dream for so many years. They're asking what position we will take," Bennett said. "Our answer: Annexation – we support the plan. No annexation – we won't support the plan."

The defense minister called to extend Israeli law over all of the West Bank and added: "The right-wing government won't allow debate with the left over any option other than the full extension of Israeli sovereignty over half a million Israelis at this Sunday's security cabinet meeting.


"In another week here, the city of Ariel will able to finally be an official part of the state, just like Tel Aviv. If that happens, the cabinet will fully support the 'deal of the century.'"

According to Israeli sources, the American plan will assure full Israeli sovereignty in all the existing settlements and annexation of the Jordan Valley, which will become Israel's eastern border.

Responsibility for security in all the territory in the West Bank and most of Jerusalem – including the Old City – is expected to remain in Israeli hands. In addition, Israel won't be able to expand the settlements and will be forced to clear illegal outposts. According to the sources, the Palestinian state will be established over most of the land in the West Bank and in outlying Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem. In addition, a future Palestinian state would retain access to and take part in the management of the holy sites, in coordination with Jordan.

Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu departed for the U.S. and is expected to land in Washington in the early morning hours on Monday. Before departing, Netanyahu said: "Five years ago I appeared before Congress in Washington because I had to stand up to a plan developed by an American president," referencing the Iran nuclear deal signed between former President Barack Obama and Tehran.

"I've believed that plan jeopardized Israel's mere existence. Today I'm headed to bring back a plan, which I believe will advance Israel's interests. On Tuesday we'll make History," the premier continued. 

Netanyahu was originally scheduled to meet with Trump on Tuesday. However, after it was announced that Gantz would hold a private meeting with the U.S. president on Monday, a senior Israeli official said the premier would also sit down with Trump on Monday in addition to their audience the day after.

Meanwhile, Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council in the West Bank, will also take off Sunday to take part in a series of meetings with evangelical Christians and Republicans in a bid to gain their support against giving away territory meant for a future Palestinian state.

On Saturday night, the Samaria Regional Council launched a campaign featuring its stance on Trump's peace plan.

According to the campaign, the council "rules out the establishment of a Palestinian state, will not agree to abandon isolated Jewish communities as enclaves in a territory controlled by a terrorist country, and rejects renouncing Area C and B and further concessions."

The Oslo Accords divided the West Bank into three parts: Area A, which makes up 18 percent of the West Bank and includes all large Palestinian cities, is under full control of the Palestinian Authority; Area B, which makes up 22 percent, is under civilian control of the PA and Israeli security control; and Area C, which makes up 60 percent, is controlled by Israel and is home to Palestinian communities alongside Israeli settlements.

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