Likud Minister Moshe Kahlon 311.
(photo credit: Avi Hayun)
With the clock ticking down to an anticipated unilateral declaration of
Palestinian statehood, a senior Likud minister joined calls over the weekend to
annex the West Bank in response to any unilateral Palestinian steps.
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Saturday night, Channel 2 released an audio recording of a meeting of the
Likud’s young adult forum on Thursday, during which Welfare and Communications
Minister Moshe Kahlon said that he supported such a move.
“If they take
steps, we will take steps – I think that we need to immediately annex all of the
territories on that same day,” Kahlon said, to applause from his
“You declared statehood? No problem. We will also
declare...As children say: “You started it!” An Army Radio correspondent
sat in on the meeting, which was considered an internal party event, and
recorded the minister’s comments.
Kahlon is not, however, the first Likud
minister to float the idea in recent days, following the Palestinian
announcement of an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement between Fatah and
On Wednesday, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli
Edelstein said that because “the Palestinian Authority chose a strategy of
terror and unilateralism, Israel too must present an initiative: to assert
Israeli authority throughout the entire Land of Israel and put an end to the
idea of a Palestinian state.”
On Thursday, Kahlon reassured his audience
that the government had maintained its commitment to post-moratorium building in
the West Bank.
“There is building outside the settlement blocs, and it is
happening at a fast pace,” he said.
It was not enough, Kahlon said,
blaming Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Labor for construction delays, but adding
that these problems “are being addressed daily by MKs from the correct side of
Kahlon also suggested that the government cut the flow of tax
revenues to the Palestinian Authority that Israel collects on its behalf. “They
have 12 percent [economic] growth, which comes from us. That means that they
have a lot to lose,” he said.
In this, too, Kahlon repeated calls already
heard within the Likud’s right-wing. Last week, MK Miri Regev responded to
reports of the Hamas-Fatah alliance by calling for an urgent meeting of the
Knesset’s Joint Committee for the Defense Budget, on which she sits, to end the
transfer of billions of shekels of tax revenues to the PA.
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