(photo credit: REUTERS)
Ministers on the Right condemned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state at the beginning of his meeting with US president Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
The ministers had hoped that creating a Palestinian state would be off Netanyahu’s agenda following Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s harsh condemnation of Israel and Netanyahu’s criticism of the Palestinian leader in their respective speeches to the United Nations General Assembly over the past week.
But Netanyahu told Obama he remained committed to the vision of two states for two peoples based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements. He suggested that a “positive program” based on a regional approach could advance that goal.
“Those who are committed to the war against Islamic State and Hamas cannot give them a state,” Economy Minister Naftali Bennett of Bayit Yehudi said. “The idea of a Palestinian state flew away this summer along with the missiles fired at Ben-Gurion Airport. We must realize this quickly.”
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, also from Bayit Yehudi, said the idea of promoting a Palestinian state had never been approved by the cabinet, the Knesset, or the institutions of the Likud. He said therefore that Netanyahu’s statements to Obama did not obligate Israel and would never be implemented.
On the Left, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said that while Netanyahu said he was committed to a twostate solution, he was doing everything possible to torpedo the creation of a Palestinian state. She accused Netanyahu of endangering Israel’s strategic partnership with the US.
“Apparently, our prime minister is Dr. Bibi and Mr. Netanyahu,” Gal-On said.
“Netanyahu is spreading words and lies to try to blind the president of the United States and the Israeli public.
He caused a diplomatic stalemate, strengthened isolated settlements, and isolated Israel in the world.”