“I don’t care about a Palestinian State,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday, dismissing US President Donald Trump’s statement that a two-state solution is the best solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The Palestinian State simply does not interest me, what interests me is the Jewish state. And here there are many more acute problems,” he said during a visit to the Quneitra crossing in Israel’s Golan Heights.
“The fact that in the State of Israel the Arabs make up 20% of the population and that they go out for demonstrations and protests with Palestinian flags and not with Israeli flags, I have a problem with that. That's the real problem, we have to worry about having a Jewish state, and the rest is less interesting,” the defense minister said.
On Wednesday Trump expressed for the first time support for the two-state solution after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
"I like two-state solution. Yeah. That's what I think… that's what I think works best. I don't even have to speak to anybody, that's my feeling... I think two-state solution works best," the US president said at a joint press conference.
Following the announcement Netanyahu said that he expects the Trump administration to leave Israel in charge of security of any Palestinian State, telling reporters "I am willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us.”
On Thursday responding to a question about whether or not a Palestinian state is in Israel’s best interests, Israel’s Defense Minister stressed that the only interest “is a Jewish and secure state.”
Speaking last year at the Munich Security Conference the defense minister said that he favors two-states with population exchanges as the only solution to the conflict.“My vision and goal is, without a doubt, the two-state solution,” he said at the time. "I believe that we must ensure Israel remains a Jewish state. The basic solution must include a land swap, and a population swap. There are a lot of misunderstandings.”The Defense Minister stated that “it made no sense” to have one homogenous Palestinian state and one bi-national state of Israel. “The biggest problem is that we are willing for them to have a Palestinian state without a single Jew in it, but in Israel, 20% of our population will be Arabs. We cannot create two states this way.”“The Palestinians do not have a capacity to sign a final status agreement with Israel,” he said. “It is possible only as a part of [an] all regional solution. We must sign simultaneously a regional solution with the Arab world and [the] Palestinians.”Earlier in September Liberman also said that he was not optimistic about reaching a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians and that Israel should act unilaterally to shape its own policy.