Netanyahu's Likud party to vote against Palestinian state on Tuesday

The party has long opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, and will solidify this position yet again on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud convening, January 25, 2015 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud convening, January 25, 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and must consider alternatives to the two-state solution, according to a proposal set to pass Tuesday in a meeting of the Likud's ideological bureau in Ariel.
Netanyahu helped lead efforts initiated by a group of Likud activists to pass a proposal opposing a Palestinian state in the Likud central committee in May 2002. That proposal was opposed by then-prime minister and Likud leader Ariel Sharon and paved the way for his departure from the party.
As prime minister in June 2009, Netanyahu endorsed the two-state solution in a speech at Bar-Ilan University. His associates have tried to delay and prevent Tuesday's vote, which could embarrass the prime minister at a sensitive time in international relations.
But Mateh Binyamin Regional Council Likud branch head Shevah Stern, who chairs the party's Nationalist Forum, said that following the murder of Yosef, Chaya, and Elad Solomon, this is the ultimate time to reinforce the proposal he initiated 15 years ago.
"I am not making problems for the prime minister," Stern said. "We are not acting against the prime minister but we do want to have an influence on him and other ministers to follow the path of Likud, which is against a Palestinian state."
Getting the ideological bureau to schedule Tuesday's vote took Stern more than a year. He had to draft the support of a fifth of the bureau's members to initiate the meeting and put it on the agenda, and then he used legal means to prevent delaying the vote.
The proposal also would make the party officially oppose a Saudi peace plan that calls for unlimited Palestinian refugees to enter Israel and a now-defunct French diplomatic proposal that was championed by the previous administration of Francois Holland.
It would also require Netanyahu to start preparing for the possibility of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, an issue that has been championed by the head of the ideological bureau, Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin.
Stern and his allies in the Nationalist Forum also intend to pass proposals calling for unlimited construction in Judea and Samaria and annexing their Jewish communities at a Likud central committee meeting that is expected to take place in September.
Netanyahu has been trying to stall and prevent those votes as well, telling a conference organized by the right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon on July 4 that he is on the Right, and he does not need anyone to strengthen him from the Right.
"If he's on the Right, then that's terrific," Stern said. "Being on the Right means annexing the land. We don't need to do just what he wants, The party has institutions, and they make decisions, too. He does not rule alone. He's not a dictator."