Likud MK David Bitan: Likud has lost it, West Bank annexation 'won't happen'

"It is very clear" Israel's new government will not move to annex parts of the West Bank, Likud MK David Bitan claimed in a Saturday interview.

 THE CONDUCT of Netanyahu and his obedient cronies over the last year has been nothing less than despicable. (Pictured: With Likud MKs Miri Regev and David Bitan) (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
THE CONDUCT of Netanyahu and his obedient cronies over the last year has been nothing less than despicable. (Pictured: With Likud MKs Miri Regev and David Bitan)
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

Likud has lost it during the course of the coalition negotiations, Likud MK David Bitan said plainly during an interview with Channel 12's Meet the Press on Saturday evening.

Speaking about the latest developments in the negotiations between Likud and the other incoming coalition parties, Bitan said that the other parties "wanted everything," and that the only thing they didn't ask for was the position of prime minister itself. 

"They wanted everything else," he said. "At the end of the day, they recognize Netanyahu's leadership, but besides that they want to take everything, in cash and as fast as they can."

Bitan also stated his intention to abstain from a controversial vote that would cancel the "racism clause" in the Basic Law: The Knesset.

The cancelation of the clause, should it happen, would enable citizens who incite to racism, or do not accept Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state, to run for the Knesset.

Baruch Marzel  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Baruch Marzel (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

People and groups who have been banned from running for Knesset under this clause include far-right candidates Bentzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel, as well as the Kahanist Kach party itself.

Canceling the clause would allow both right-wing Jewish extremists, and Arab extremists who do not view the state of Israel as legitimate, to run in future elections.

Bitan said that he found the proposal to cancel the clause disturbing, adding: "We have been fighting antisemitism and racism all over the world for years, so what message are we sending to the world if we agree to give up?

"Of course I am opposed to [canceling] it. Every person should be opposed to this matter."

Bitan: West Bank annexation won't happen

Israeli annexation of the West Bank, along with other controversial clauses inserted into Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition agreements, will most likely not be implemented, Bitan admitted earlier on Saturday in a KAN Reshet B interview..

As part of the incoming prime minister's coalition deal with Religious Zionists Party head MK Bezalel Smotrich, Netanyahu agreed to advance policies to annex portions of the West Bank. It was noted that this will be done "at the right time and with consideration" to Israel's national and international interests.

In addition, Netanyahu came to an agreement with the future finance minister that the new government will authorize illegal outposts, referred to by the Right as "young settlements," within 60 days of its formation.

'If it didn't happen with Trump, it won't happen now'

"It is very clear it won't happen during the [US President Joe] Biden administration...even when Donald Trump was president, it didn't happen because of opposition from the West Bank itself," Bitan said.

The Likud MK, who is unlikely to receive a substantial position within the next government, further explained that "in the current system, some of the settlement building in the West Bank is carried out in coordination with the United States.

"Smotrich will not be able to change that," Bitan noted. "There are things that are written down in agreements for the sake of being written down."

Bitan, who has been vocal in his disapproval of the emerging new government, again stressed that he is "dissatisfied with the number of concessions the Likud made [during negotiations]...however, since the agreement has already been signed, we might as well form this government and move forward."

Last month, Bitan admitted that he does not believe the new government will live out its days.

“It’s not just forming the government, there will be problems afterward," Bitan said in November. "These things will create a bad atmosphere.”