Gideon Saar at UNESCO 311.
(photo credit: Education Ministry)
If elected prime minister in the post-Netanyahu era, former minister Gideon Sa’ar would approach the international community with a package of alternatives to a Palestinian state, because it would be in Israel’s interest and would show goodwill, Sa’ar told members of The Jerusalem Post staff on Wednesday.
Sa’ar said that after successive Israeli governments tried almost everything possible for 25 years to bring about two states for two peoples, he does not see such an agreement on the horizon.
“The two-state solution has become merely a two-state slogan,” he said. “Forming a Palestinian state now is a crazy idea that would distance peace and security. We cannot accept a Palestinian mini-state in Judea and Samaria. We don’t want one state either. The current situation is better than alternatives currently on the table.”
Sa’ar said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has very little power among his people, which explains why he has not called an election for 13 years. Sa’ar said Abbas was attacking US President Donald Trump in order to strengthen himself politically.
“Abbas has been trying for years to attain Israeli concessions without making compromises,” he said. “That’s now blocked for him by Trump. He is losing his marbles, because he has no alternative strategy to what he tried before.”
Sa’ar supports applying Israeli law to all legal Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. What made sense 50 years ago has become absurd when the Jewish population there approaches half a million people, he said, adding that Israel should not fear the wrath of the international community when taking such a move, but should also not mock it.
“There shouldn’t be a problem building a preschool or a balcony in Eli or Ofra,” he said. “We shouldn’t leave 500,000 people in limbo.”
Sa’ar declined to answer questions related to the criminal investigations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But he said he does not believe the current investigations should require him to resign.
Regarding his own future, Sa’ar said he will run for Knesset with the Likud in the next election and eventually seek the premiership, but that at the age of 51, he is in no hurry.
“My patience confuses people,” he said. “I believe politics is a marathon. I respect the prime minister as my party chairman who is, by and large, a believer in the same ideology.”
Regarding former IDF chiefs of staff who are expected to run in the next election, Sa’ar said he respects Moshe Ya’alon as “a principled man who unfortunately left the Likud,” and that he is not in touch with former IDF chiefs Gabi Ashkenazi or Benny Gantz.
Sa’ar said he believes he could reach a solution on the Western Wall controversy and that it is more important than ever to take responsibility for Diaspora Jews.
“Israel must give more resources to fund education and identity in the Diaspora,” he said. “I’m not willing to give up anyone.”