Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lose support among right-wing voters if he takes steps that advance Palestinian statehood, former justice minister Ayelet Shaked told The Jerusalem Post’s virtual conference.
“If he takes steps on the ground to promote a Palestinian state, then I am sure that he will lose Right support – but if [it's just talk] he can handle it,” said Shaked. She recalled that Netanyahu has long spoken of his support for a demilitarized Palestinian state and has already stated this in his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech.During the last election cycle, Netanyahu’s Likud Party was the most popular among right-wing voters, garnering 36 mandates compared to six mandates for Yamina, although its right-wing positions are often stronger. The party now sits the opposition.The Yamina Party is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state, even the demilitarized one as set out in US President Donald Trump’s peace plan. It is one of the reasons why her party has opposed the plan, but it has been careful to separate the US president from the document.Shaked was careful to state at the conference that “Trump is a true friend of Israel; one of the best presidents we ever had in the White House for Israel.”Her party, like many on the Right, like the part of Trump’s plan that calls for Israel to annex 30% of the West Bank, just not as envisioned in the plan. Shaked added that she also thought the process should be done in conjunction with the US if possible.“The prime minister should take this opportunity to apply Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria. If the administration is willing to do it on 30% of the territory then we should do it on 30% of the territory, but of course without establishing a Palestinian state,” she said.“We in Yamina oppose a Palestinian state; we think it is a dangerous thing for Israel,” Shaked said, adding that “we are opposed to endangering or freezing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.“So if this step will be to apply Israeli sovereignty we will support it from the opposition,” she said.Shaked added she believes that it was important to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and hoped that rumors she had heard of its exclusion were false.